THE THINGS THAT PLEASE GOD
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him because we keep his commandments and do those things
that are pleasing in his sight."
I John 3:22
Via Scriptural study and diligent observation, it is this preacher’s view that there are three types of professing Christians: (1) The acting Christian, (2) The apathetic Christian and (3) The aspiring Christian. The acting Christian is a spurious Christian, a counterfeit Christian. The apathetic Christian is a sleeping Christian, a Carnal Christian, while the aspiring Christian is a spiritual Christian, a consecrated Christian.
The Christian delineated in the text above is an aspiring Christian, whose goal is to please God in all things, which should be the aim of all true born-again Christians. Pleasing God is first the way to holiness, then to heavenliness and finally to happiness.
IMPORTANT INTRODUCTORY STATEMENTS
First, pleasing God is a mandate of Scripture: I Thess. 4:1: “Furthermore, then, we beseech you brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus that as ye has received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” It is obvious from this verse that pleasing God is not an option for the believer, it is an obligation; it is not an action to ponder, but an activity to perform. The blessed part of this commandment is that when God gives believers commands, He also give them the power to carry out those commands.
Second, pleasing God is a means of Sanctification: Heb. 13:20-21: “Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of his everlasting covenant. Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The word "perfect" here means "to fully provide, to make complete to supply that which is lacking” and thus has the concept of spiritual maturity, or sanctification in view.
Thirdly, pleasing God is a method of Supply: I John 3:22: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” Phil. 4:19 is a verse that can be aptly quoted in this context: “My God shall supply all your needs [to give to others!] according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
THE THINGS THAT DO NOT PLEASE GOD
1. Incorrect priorities do not please God: In Matt. 6:19 Christ declared: “Lay not for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.”
2. Living a carnal life does not please God: Rom. 8:8 says that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The context of Romans chapter eight makes it plain that the carnal mind is “enmity against God” (8:7) and that carnal living is the lifestyle of the unconverted, not the saved.
3. Living for the approval of man rather than the approval of God does not please God. In Gal. 1:10, the Apostle Paul stated: “For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
CHRIST: THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ONE WHO PLEASED HIS HEAVENLY FATHER IN EVERYTHING
1.Christ pleased God in His Life: (a) At His baptism, in Matt. 3:17, when the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon him, God the Father’s voice declared: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” (b) At His transfiguration in Matt. 17:5, God the Father’s voice again uttered its approval upon Christ: “And while he yet spake again, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud which said, This is my beloved son in whom I am well please. Hear ye him.” (c) Christ personally stated to the unbelieving Pharisees that He always pleased God: In John 8:29, Christ said, “…for I do always those things that please him.”
2. Christ pleased God in His Atoning Sacrifice, in His Death on the Cross: The entire chapter of Isaiah 53 is a classic treatise on the Messianic person and work of Christ. Both the Father and the Son were pleased with the results of Jesus’ atoning work on the cross: Is. 53:10 says “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him,” while Is. 53:11 states, “He shall see the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.”
While the believer cannot perfectly please God completely with the sinless heart as Christ pleased God, there are several ways in which the saint can please God and bring immense delight to His inner being.
SEVEN THINGS TODAY THAT PLEASE GOD
1.The Salvation of souls pleases God. Whenever a repentant sinner comes to Christ, God’s heart is filled with joy, since God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but in their conversion (Ez.33:11). In Gal.1:15, Paul stated that “…it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace…” Winning lost souls is a wise investment for eternity—Prov. 11:30, actions with which God is surely pleased!
2. Preaching pleases God. I Cor. 1:21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
True preaching pleases God because (a) it emphasizes the central place of the cross in God’s plan of redemption: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God—I Cor. 1:23-24.” Genuine preaching also pleases God because (b) it exalts the power of Christ—Rom. 1:16 and because it (c) expresses the purpose of the Great Commission—Matt. 28:18-20.
3. Faith pleases God. Heb. 11:6 says: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith pleases God (a) because of its source—the Word of God: Rom. 10:17, (b) because of its substance— Heb.11:1, (c) because of its subject—Christ: Heb. 12:2 and (d) because of its sufficiency—Rom. 1:17 for “The just shall live by faith.”
4.Giving pleases God: Heb. 13:15-16 states: “By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate [financial stewardship-giving of our financial blessings] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Phil. 4:14-18 calls such financial giving a “sacrifice well pleasing to God.”
5. Obedience to parents by children pleases God. In the Apostle Paul’s instructions for family happiness and harmony in Col. 3:16-22 that includes directives for the father, the mother and the children he declares: “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” In Eph. 6:1-3, this obedience includes properly honouring one’s parents, with the general promise of a long life on the earth.
6. Praising God in worship pleases God: No, this does not include or mean pro-Charismatic or so-called CCM (Contemporary Christian Music)! To endeavor to be Fundamentalist in the precepts of the Word [doctrine] and be Contemporary in the practices of the World, is both contradictory and confusing. Ps. 147:1 says, “Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant and praise is comely.” CCM confuses the music of the world with the music of the Word—Ps. 40:3.
7. Unity in the congregation pleases God: Ps. 133:1 proclaims “Behold how good, and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” This genuine unity is not an artificial or a forced unity, but comes when believers in N.T. local churches center their focus on Christ and wholeheartedly cooperate together under the under the Scriptural functional leadership of the pastor—Heb. 13:7, 17.
Pleasing God is an imperative and major responsibility of born again believers. Pleasing God results in (a) holiness—Heb. 12:9-11, happiness—Col. 1:10, harmony—Acts 15:22 and help—I John 3:22. DJ: PS—The above resume is a brief summary of one of the sermons yours truly preaches in meetings.
Also in this issue: