How To Please God
God’s will: He wants you to be worthy of the Lord whom you serve. He wants you to be fruitful. He wants you to know Him better.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? This is your friend, Bob Cook, I’m glad to be back with you.
We’re looking at the book of Ephesians chapter 1 and we’ve come now into verse 9. We have to get a little running start however. Paul says God chooses and then He made plans for us, plans to adopt us to himself in his own family. The purpose then being that we’d shine, and the glory of His grace would shine through us so that he, God, would be praised. In Christ, we have redemption, we have forgiveness and we have the working out of God’s perfect plan. That takes us then through verse 8.
Now verse 9, “Having made known onto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.” What is it? “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” The idea of being, “That we should be to the praise of his glory, we who first trusted in Christ.”
That’s a big mouthful there. Paul is a master of long involved sentences, isn’t he? Rudolf Flesch would give him a “High Fog Index”, I think. But the Holy Spirit of God makes no mistake and the lofty prose of the apostle Paul comes right from the heart of God, and it does indeed speaks to our hearts, doesn’t it?
Now he said, “He made known unto us the mystery of His will”. You have the mystery of Christ in verse 4 chapter 3 and you have the mystery, which is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God. What is it? “That now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”
See? The mystery, when you use the word mystery in scripture you have the idea of something that was kept secret but is now revealed. And so you have the mystery that we preach in Colossians 1, the mystery which is Christ in you the hope of glory — Christ in you the hope of glory. Well, that’s just a few references having to do with the word mystery, having made known the mystery of his will.
Now what is it? According to Paul in this passage, “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him,” and we have an inheritance in Him.
Now, why does he get — take this direction? Well, when sin came into the world, read the book of Genesis and see how sin came into the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and God had placed them in a perfect environment and given His directive that you may have all the trees in the garden, the other tree which is in the midst of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, don’t eat of that because in the day you do you’ll die. That was His will. And the tempter of course, convinced Eve and later Adam, that this was a fruit that was pleasant to the eyes and good for food and desirable to make one wise. And so they opted for disobedience.
At that point then, sin entered into the universe. Death became the order of the day. And so things live and die as we have them all around us. “It’s appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment”, the writer to the Hebrews says in Hebrews 9:27. And so you have that. Not only that, but there was a dreadful separation from fellowship with God, and Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden and had to go till the earth in their best efforts to raise some kind of a livelihood for themselves.
And so, later on, civilization so-called began. And here we have a world today populated with roughly 4 billion people, most of whom are separated from God. Without God, without hope in the world, not knowing the joy of fellowship with Christ. What is God’s plan ultimately? God’s plan ultimately is that those who trust the Lord Jesus Christ from every nation and kindred and tongue and tribe, are to be brought together. And the wall between Jew and Gentiles broken down, where no more we Gentiles are, “no more strangers and foreigners but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” We belong to the very family of God. We’re built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets.
God’s plan, see, the mystery of his will, what is it? “When I get through,” said he, “the damage that was done by the fall into sin is going to be removed,” and Christ Jesus is going to be the one through whom all of these disparate elements that have been separated, separated from God and separated from each other, are going to be brought back together. That’s what he’s saying there. Having made known onto us the mystery of his will.
Now, it’s not only is His will across the — across the centuries that you and I are interested in but we’re interested also in knowing the will of God for ourselves, are we not? Paul said to the people of Colossae, “For this cause we also since the day we heard it do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” What is this will? “That you might walk worthy of the Lord onto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God and strengthened with all might according to His glorious power onto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness.” Then his will includes thankfulness, “Giving thanks unto the Father which hath made us worthy to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
God’s will, what is it? Oh my, walk worthy with the Lord. That’s the first thing. He wants you to live in a way that brings credit to the Lord Jesus. He wants you to bring forth fruit, every branch in me that every branch that abides in me, brings forth fruit Jesus said, “and if any man brings forth fruit, my father purgeth or prunes him that he might bring forth more fruit.” Remember that passage? Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away and ever branch that beareth fruit, he prunes it that it may bring forth more fruit.”
And this, “herein is my father glorified that ye bear much fruit.” So it’s no fruit, some fruit, more fruit and much fruit. This is what God wants for you and for me. Fruit and then an increasing awareness of what God is, who He is and how He relates to our lives, increasing in the knowledge of God. Do you know God any better today than you used to, could you say? Do you know God any better today than you used to?
Well, some people just sort of drift on through life and nothing really goes on but the rent, you know? But it’s possible for you to know God better, increasing in the knowledge of God. Do you know Him any better? Well that’s something for you and your Lord to work out. Remember that knowledge doesn’t mean head knowledge. It’s a Greek verb “genosco” which means to know personally, know with an experience, increasing in the knowledge of God by personal experience. That’s what that means.
And so that’s why you and I need to find a quiet place every day to talk to our blessed Lord and let Him whisper His will to us, to cleanse our hearts and to make us more like the savior whom we adore. See, God’s will, He wants you to be worthy of the Lord whom you serve. He wants you to be fruitful. He wants you to know Him better. He wants you to be strong with His strength, “strengthened with all might according to His glorious power.” It uses two Greek words for power there. One is the bulldozer word that chews up the mountains and the other is the word that describes the shining of the sun that never quits, both of them relating to the power of God.
And it’s power to be patient and power to be long suffering and power to be joyful and the power to be thankful. Oh hey that’s great, isn’t it? Well, that’s Colossians 1 that I’ve been talking about, about the will of God.
So he said having been made known unto us the mystery of his will. So you have the will of God for the centuries and then you have the will of God for this minute. And you can trust your God to lead you and, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.”
I look back on times in my life when there’s no question about the fact that the Lord guided me. In answer to prayer that is to say, in answer to prayer when I prayed, “Lord what do I do next?” and God guided me. I’ve told you. I guess maybe some years ago the time when I stood on a sidewalk in Los Angeles outside of a little hotel where I had a room rented. I was new to the work of Youth for Christ and just been elected to president of Youth for Christ. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have any bookings anywhere, but I was out there to try to raise some funds for this fledgling organization that needed at that time about a thousand dollars a day to keep going.
And that was a monumental amount to me. And, of course, since then it grown to have ministries all over the world and people by the thousands delight in the support of it and I’m glad. But there it was and I didn’t know what to do. I made a few attempts to contact people whom I knew but they inevitably gave me what I call a non-bankable God bless you and sent me back out again. And I stood there at the side walk and pray “Oh God, I don’t know anybody, I don’t know where to go, I don’t know what to do and yet I have this responsibility, please help me.”
And then the thought struck me, “Well, go ahead and have a cup of coffee.” So I went inside of the hotel through the little gloomy lobby there and down the long hall that led to the coffee shop and went on in, and suddenly I heard my name called and here was a man I hadn’t seen for years who had worked with me before, years previously and we’ve been separated for years because he moved out West. And so he said, “What are you doing here?” I said, “Oh, I’ve just been standing on the sidewalk, praying that God would help me raise some money. I don’t know anybody. I don’t know where to go.” He said, “Oh, maybe my friend here could help you.” And he introduced me to a man who later took me under his wing, took me around that very day and introduced me to some folk that could help in a substantial way.
Do you think God answers prayer and let you know what His will is? Oh yes, He does, trust your blessed Lord today for the revelation of His will for right now as well as for the centuries and the ages to come.
Dear Father, today reveal your will to us and help us to do it 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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