A Life That Pleases God
Our aim should be to live a life that pleases God. We do this by living a holy life, spending time with Him and listening to Him.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. In fact, you know there’s a difference between the verbs “trust” and “hope”? If you say, “I trust so,” that means, “Well, I wish that everything is alright.” If you say, “I hope so,” that means you have a basis for saying so. Maybe I could use the verb “hope,” because you and I are in the control of our blessed Lord and everything that comes our way, like it or not, is part of His divine plan, so when I say, “is everything going alright?” I probably would be accurate in saying, “I hope so.” Why? Because you and I have been born again, Peter says, “To a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” He is alive, our Savior is, and because He is, you and I have hope for every moment of every day, on into eternity. Hallelujah for that!
Well, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. We’re looking at 1 Thessalonians, and now we come into Chapter 4. My, this book is going fast, isn’t it? And Paul says in the outset of this chapter, “We beseech you and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk” (that means live every day) “and to please God so that you would abound more and more, because you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.” Now the key to this passage here (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12) is the idea of pleasing God. I’m going to lay it out in outline form and then we’ll talk about it as we go on verse by verse, alright?
First of all, he says “This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication…and not in the lust of concupiscence,” and so on and so on. “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” Don’t despise God, Who has given us His Holy Spirit.” Now that’s the first section. How to please God? A holy life, based on the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God. That’s the first section.
The second is shorter: Verses 9 and 10 have to do with brotherly love. “As touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; ye are taught by God to love one another and you do this toward all the brethren and all Macedonia, and we beseech you to keep on.” Brotherly love is the idea of sharing with your Christian brothers and sisters. Philadelphia is the name of a city that we have taken right straight across from the Greek language: “Brotherly love.” That’s part of how you please God, remember?
Then, in Verses 11 and 12 you have what we would call Christian values. Study to be quiet. “Quietness.” Isaiah says, “In confidence shall be your strength.” You’re never learning much, nor are you serving efficiently if you’re rushing around like a chicken with its head removed. Quietness; “Take time to be holy. Speak oft with thy Lord, abide with Him only and trust in His Word.” Quietness. That’s one value there.
Then he says, “Do your own business.” We would use the verb “mind.” “Mind your own business.” People who are constantly poking into other folks’ affairs are not only pests, but they don’t get an awful lot done for God in the process. There isn’t any standard way to handle a busybody except just to turn them into channels of profitable endeavor, if that’s possible, or else just keep away from them. He says, “Mind your own business; don’t be poking into other people’s matters.”
Then he says, “Work with your own hands”: the Puritan ethic of hard work, and then “honesty” in Verse 12. “Walk honestly toward them that are without.” Now, that is the third section in this matter of pleasing God. We’ll come back to all of this, but I wanted you to see the package: A holy life, brotherly love, and Christian virtues exemplified in daily life: that’s how you please God according to this passage.
Well, I thought it might be helpful to us in this connection to see some of the verses that refer to pleasing God and what happens when we do. One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs. I have often brought this before my Lord in prayer concerning my own life. This is Proverbs 16:7: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” The first thing to do if you have critics and enemies and adversaries is to make sure that your heart is right and that your conduct is pleasing to God. Why? Because God takes care of the adversary if you’ll take care of your own heart.
Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 10 of bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to work on anything that is in adversarial position to the will of God. If I’ll get my heart right with God, He’ll take care of people around me: that’s the principle upon which you can rest the destiny of your whole life’s effort. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
David fell into sin, and although he repented, the prophet said, “God hath put away your sin, but from henceforth, thou shalt have wars.” David had trouble upon trouble, both in his own household and in his kingdom, and in the attacks of adversarial nations around him from that time forward. I can’t tell you why God works this way; I can only tell you that if I will pay attention to getting my heart right with God and my conduct in line with His will, He will take care of people outside of my life, some of whom may indeed be my enemies. Pleasing God is part of self-preservation. If you look at it that way, it makes an awful lot of sense, doesn’t it? Yes it does. “If a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with Him.
Now you and I pattern our lives after the Lord Jesus, and well we may. “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps,” says Peter. But you go back to Matthew 3:17, and here’s a voice from Heaven coming: “Lo, a voice from Heaven, saying ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Jesus said as recorded in John 8, “I do all those things that please My Father.” So, here you have the example of your Lord and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “My meat” (that is, what satisfies me) “is to do the will of Him that sent Me and finish His work.” To please the Father, to finish His work, to obey what He tells you: all of these things are parallel to each other in meaning. If you want to please God, start obeying Him. If you want to please God, start doing the work He wants accomplished. If you want to please God, delight in His will. A messianic verse found in the Psalms: “I delight to do Thy will, O My God, yea Thy law is within my heart.” That’s how to please God.
And then Paul, of course, says in 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2 (and we’ve gone over this verse quite recently) “As we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, who tries our hearts.” To please God means to be true to the gospel. Had you thought of it that way? We tend to think in theological terms, those of us who’ve been trained in seminaries, and we think of the body of truth, “classic Christian orthodoxy,” I guess my friend Walter Martin calls it, the body of truth that evangelicals everywhere hold precious…we think of that as something to be known, to be preserved, and to be carefully taught. But he says that pleasing God has to do with speaking because you’re in trust with the gospel, not to please people but to please God.
And the way you please God is to give out the gospel as a responsible activity. We were put in trust with the gospel (that is to say, like a steward in an ancient Roman household who had control of the master’s assets; he had control of them but didn’t own them.) We are put in trust with the gospel. You don’t own the gospel in a proprietary sense, but you are responsible for it, in that when you fill that responsibility properly, it pleases God. He knows your heart.
And then Enoch, of course, is mentioned as one who pleased God. “By faith Enoch was translated,” (this is Hebrews 11:5) “that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him. For before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Now what does it say about Enoch? It says “Enoch walked with God.” That’s what it says about him in the Book of Genesis. It says, “Enoch walked with God.”
How do you walk with God? Number one, spend time with Him. Number two, listen to Him. Number three, do what He says. “Can two walk together except that they be agreed?” You can’t fight God’s will and still walk with Him, so do what He says. Walk with Him. Enjoy God’s presence.
How much time have you spent recently in the presence of God, just enjoying Him? You didn’t have a laundry list of things to ask for, and you weren’t there because of any particular crisis in your life, but you just wanted to be with Him and enjoy Him. “Wait on the Lord,” is the verb that the psalmist uses. “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” “Be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart.” Just to be in God’s presence; to enjoy Him, to worship Him, to express your love to Him and to allow Him, by the Holy Spirit, to speak His love to your heart. That pleases God. “He had this testimony, that he pleased God.” The outstanding thing about him, according to the history that has come to us now across these thousands of years is that he walked with God. He pleased God.
Then, you please God by doing good and by giving. “To do good and to communicate, forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” To do good and communicate means to give. Share with others. That pleases God.
Well, there’s a little rundown of some of the things that are involved when we use the verb, “to please God.” We’ll get back to this passage the next time we get together.
Dear Father, help us please Thee today by what we are, by what we say, and by what we do for Thy glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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