Faithlife Sermons

For God's Pleasure


Have you ever gotten a gift that was well not what you wanted? I honestly could not remember any that I recieved. So I took to the internet to find some people who were really bad at gift giving.
Here is one story
"My mother-in-law gave my wife and me a book about surviving infidelity. Neither of us has ever cheated on the other in 20 years of marriage."
And here is another
"A girl I dated for two years got me a blue Powerade for my birthday because, 'You like blue Powerade.' I don’t even drink Powerade."
How about this one-
The year the Nintendo 64 came out, it was all me and my brothers wanted for Christmas.
We rented a system from Blockbuster every chance we got. Fast-forward to Christmas morning and a Nintendo box is under the tree.
We thought maybe my parents has gotten a used one or something and we were beyond excited to open that puppy up.
We saw the tag was from our grandparents who were very anti-video games. "Maybe they came around", we thought. "Maybe it's a Christmas miracle."
We popped open the lid and sitting inside was.... A typewriter. An electric typewriter.
My grandfather thought we could use it to work on our typing skills. All three of us were devastated.
One last one
"A bunch of random tools from my wife. Not tools I needed. Not tools I asked for. Not tools I could use for my hobbies. Just random tools she picked out from Lowe's because 'guys like tools.'"
These people had to be thinking-it is like you don’t even know me at all. In order to give someone a gift, you have to know them. It is completely possible to think you know someone, yet have no idea of what they like and dislike.
It is possible that we can think we know someone and give them a gift that they really don’t like. The person, then receiving the gift shows it to their friend in disbelief and the friend say what? Well, it’s the thought that counts. Right?...
Is that true? It is the thought that counts? Well maybe....but perhaps that statement is limited to the value.....That statement assumes someone actually gave thought to the gift. In these cases it is clear that the person did not give careful thought to giving the gift. This person did not even know what the person liked. or what the person delighted in before they gave the gift.
If we are going to give to God, if we are going to give our time and money to God, shouldn’t we know what God delights in? Shouldn’t we make an effort to give careful thought to what God delights in and then try and give Him that?
Today we are in the book of Haggai.
Haggai chapter 1, I won’t read the whole chapter but I will read a portion of it.
Haggai 1:2–11 NIV
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’ ” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
In our first message on Haggai, we explored the phrase “Give Careful thought”, I asked you to reflect on 2019 and look aheads to 2020, and give careful thought, to your priorities. What are the most important things in your life, where do you place your priorities?
Last week we looked at finding our satisfaction in Christ, not in the things of the world. We discovered that Christ can fulfill all our needs. The logical conclusion to is that we need to place Christ first in our life, and pursue Him above all. In that we will find fulfillment and satisfaction since He is the greatest treasure in the universe.
If those two ideas are true, and that is where we have decided to go in our personal lives and in our churches, then perhaps it is in our best interest to find out how to do that. What does God want what does He delight in?
Haggai 1:8 NIV
8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.
The book of Haggai was written to the remnant of God’s people in 520 BC, it is a specific message to them, to physically build the temple.
However, whenever God says anything, we can learn from it, and apply it to our lives, under the New Covenant, by understanding what it says about God-Remember God is unchanging. He is the same God today as He was then-He does change-He cannot change. SO if we learn who God is by what he said back then, we can the apply it to us today.
The important phrase in that verse is after the comma- So that I make take pleasure in it, and be honored.
What does God take pleasure in, and what is God honored by?
Suppose, for a moment I knew nothing of God. I suppose if I wanted to learn about God the first place I should look then would be at the buildings that honor him and are meant to bring Him pleasure, right?
This is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is gorgeous building, isn’t it? Named after St. Peter, a close disciple to Christ. It is in Rome, the center of the ancient world. It this was built surely we can learn a lot about God from this right? This must be closet to his heart.
What do we see?
Large-very large- very impressive. God must be impressed with size, and skill of craftsmanship. It is full of Gold that must be God’s favorite color, right? Streets of Gold and all that. Statues! and paintings, perhaps these cause God to delight and to be honored.
Or perhpas we would find lots of candles, lots and lots of candles
Is this what God means in Haggai chapter 1 verse 8? By so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored by it? Or is it possible that we may not know what God likes at all? Is it possible that we are missing what God wants?
Isaiah 66:1–2 NIV
1 This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
Perhaps God takes pleasure in something else.....
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Haggai 1:8 NIV
8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.
The phrase take pleasure in it, is a Hebrew verb that is used in the context of referring to God’s acceptance of a sacrifice.
So it is a sacrifice that is acceptable to God. — There are two types of sacrifices, those that are acceptable, and those that not. I have once heard it referred to genuine worship and vain worship.
What are sacrifices that are acceptable to God? Those are sacrifices given with a pure heart, out of pure motives, out of a desire to please God, alone. For His pleasure, not for our pleasure, not to undo a wrong that we have done, but to please God.
What does that look like-let me give you an example-
Suppose it is Mom’s birthday, and Dad says to the child It is Mom’s birthday you have to make your mom a card, the Child goes out to play all day, then at the last minute your Child hands mom a homemade card, it is on white lined paper and in pencil it says happy birthday mom. Job done. Task accomplished the Child kept his duty to make a card like Dad said.
Now suppose the kid went up to Dad a few days before Mom’s birthday and said, Dad I ned to go to Walmart to get some red construction paper, and lace I know mom likes red and lace and I have to make her a card. ANd the child spends all day on the card, and on moms birthday get’s up early and runs into her room says look mom I made you a card it is your favorite color and it has birds on it like you like and everything, and kisses her and hugs her and says happy birthday!
Same thing right? A card on her birthday job done right? They both followed Dad’s instructions, what is the difference? One is done from the heart, it is pleasing to Mom the other is done from duty.
Believe it or not this happens at churches all the time. People come into churches all the time, and one person may sit on one side of the aisle from another. They may both be here for the whole service, when it comes time for offering, both might put a Check for $100 in the plate. Maybe they both even have similar incomes.
But, one may give the check very differently than the other. One may give the check because they are supposed to. Perhaps they want to keep their membership active, perhaps their grandfather helped build the building and they want to keep in good shape.
Perhaps the other gives $100 because they love the Lord- They are a sinner, and they know they have been saved, and they want others to be saved, to receive the same satisfaction and joy they get from the Lord Jesus--They want to see the Gospel go forth, they want others to be saved. The love the Lord more than anything in the world, He alone is their top priority, they give the same amount but out of love.
It is the same amount, it probably goes to the same thing, but God delights in one of those, and he has no use for the other.
It is the Cain and Able story all over again. One brother sacrificed the fat and his sacrificed was accepted.
God is looking for the remnant to want to give up their interests for God interests. God is after their heart-He wants their hearts to be toward Him and his house.
Psalm 51:16–17 NIV
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
God delights when His people build His church with hearts that want to please God.
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Haggai 1:8 NIV
8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.
The second part of that phrase to be honored or to be glorified, means
that God will gain prestige and be praised through it. What does it mean to Glorify God? Let me go around the block a minute to get you to understand this.
Think of glory like this, the evidence of what came before. Ancient people thought of it Like footprints. Or remember the Charlie Brown cartoon, and pigpen, how this dust cloud would follow Him around, You could tell where Pigpen was by finding the dust cloud.
The Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of his hands, The stars and creation is not God, but it is evidence that God has been there, the skies-PROCLAIM, or testify to the fact of a creator God, there is evidence.
SO shall it be with the house of God. There should be evidence that God has been there, it should testify to HIm. The house of God should be a place where God’s name is made great where His name is honored where He is worshipped for His greatness.
The things done in God’s house are at all times to be done pointing to Him with Him in mind, as an expression of our love for Him.
Whose name is being made great in Churches today? Whose name is on the Church? Are churches centered on what glorifies God or what glorifies man? These are real questions church leaders must ask themselves as they step into the role of spiritual authority in the Church.
The Bible tells us that the glory of God is most greatly evidenced and proclaimed in the gospel, of Jesus Christ.
In fact the whole reason Jesus came was to glorify God.
John 12:27–28 NIV
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
John 17:1 NIV
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
The Glory of God is revealed or made manifest in the person and work of Christ by His Death and resurrection. God’s amazing sacrificial love for us, sinners by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Think about it God is most glorified in the Gospel because we cannot do it on our own, it has to be God who gets the glory.
We as the Church, as the family of God, making up the House of God, are called specifically to a sacrificial mission that Glorifies God and makes His name great . We are called to make the gospel known locally and worldwide. We are called to bring Glory to God, by being a place where the transforming evidence off God is very apparent. A place where you cannot help but see Jesus Christ.
God’s House should be obvious that it is God’s house, Give careful thought to this, is God alone glorified above all else in you life life, and in your church.
Mark Boda, a professor of Hebrew and Old testament at McMaster Divinity College, wrote this in His commentary on Haggai.

Down the street from my home is a seventy-year-old church whose cornerstone proclaims: “To the glory of God,” a phrase commonly used to dress such stones throughout North America. Today this same phrase often appears in the preamble of church vision statements printed in church bulletins or displayed prominently in the church foyer. Hopefully, these cornerstones and vision statements truly reflect the passion of God’s people to make his glory the ultimate purpose of the church. Building projects—indeed, all kingdom work—must be for God’s pleasure and glory.

This approach to the work of the kingdom is radically theocentric. A church that is anthropocentric in its approach will place as the primary concern the meeting of human needs. This, however, is inadequate in the economy of God’s kingdom work. The meeting of human needs is but a means to an end, and that end is the pleasure and glory of God. As A. W. Tozer once wrote:

The purpose of God in sending His Son to die and rise and live and be at the right hand of God the Father was that He might restore to us the missing jewel, the jewel of worship; that we might come back and learn to do again that which we were created to do in the first place—worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to spend our time in awesome wonder and adoration of God, feeling and expressing it, and letting it get into our labors and doing nothing except as an act of worship to Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ.

The church should be theocentric, placing God at the center of all activity and passionately preserving this priority. As believers evaluate their participation in the work of the kingdom, the first question must be: Are we bringing pleasure and glory to God through this work? If such is not the case, the work is irrelevant to God’s priorities for the kingdom.

If we as a Church seek to make God’s house a place where God’s name is glorified and we do it to please God alone, then God will be with us. As he was with the remnant on 21st of September 520 BC
Haggai 1:13–15 NIV
13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius,
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
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