Galatians 1:10 (KJV) “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.”
Last week we discussed the need to practice “Living to Please God.” This week, we begin our study of what “Living to Please God” looks like.
Can any of us doubt that we are in a spiritual battle every day? It is easy to identify with Paul when he wrote…
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (KJV) “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (Emphasis Added).
Paul exhorts Timothy…
1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV) “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (Emphasis Added).
In the same vein, Paul exhorts Timothy…
2 Timothy 2:1-4 (KJV) “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (Emphasis Added).
Did you notice? Paul emphasized the reason a “good soldier” will not seek to please himself or others by becoming entwined with the “world” – so that he may practice “Living to Please God!”
When Paul sent his last latter to Timothy, he exhorted him to stand firm in his faith and conduct himself as a faithful servant of God. Paul gave Timothy, an us, an excellent reason to practice “Living to Please God” …
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV) “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (Emphasis Added).
As we reflect upon “love his appearing” that Paul wrote, we cannot help but recall what Jesus said…
Luke 18:8 (KJV) “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Emphasis Added).
Regardless of the training “soldiers” receive, regardless of the rules and regulations that support and sustain the “warrior’s way,” and regardless of the certainty of final judgment and reward, it is our nature to become lax and take the Grace of God for granted. Military units are “inspected” on a regular basis. The purpose of the inspection is to keep the “veteran” crisp, conscientious, consecrated, and centered. It is the same with God’s “Army!”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (KJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Emphasis Added).
We should practice “Living to Please God” concertedly so that we do NOT fear God’s searching…
Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV) “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Emphasis Added).
I Never Thought of That!
Is it not foolish to be living in this world without a thought of what you will do at the end of it? A man goes into an inn, and as soon as he sits down, he begins to order his drink, his dinner, his bed; there is no delicacy in season that he forgets to order. He stays at the inn for some time. By and by, the bill comes due, and it takes him by surprise. “I never thought of that–I never thought of that!”
“Why,” says the landlord, “here is a man who is either a born fool or else a knave. What! Never thought of reckoning–never thought of settling with me!”
After this fashion too many live. They eat, and drink, and sin, but they forget the inevitable hereafter, when for all the deeds done in the body, the Lord will bring us into judgment.
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon
As we prepare to discuss that “Living to Please God” looks like, I believe it is important to be reminded why this is important to God. One of my favorite spiritual songs is, “Oh, What a Savior!” Every time I hear it sung, I cannot help but notice that my eyes become moist and a lump is in my throat. It is because when I think of Jesus, I can’t help but think, “Oh, What a Savior!”
The Father thought the same thing…
Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV) “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Emphasis Added).
God spoke through Ezekiel that He desired to find “a man,” one righteous man, who could effectively intercede for the people so that God would be justified in not sending judgment upon the people for their sins. However, God did not find one!
God spoke the same thing through Jeremiah …
Jeremiah 5:1 (KJV) “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it” (Emphasis Added).
God wondered that He could find no righteous man…
Isaiah 59:16 (KJV) “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him” (Emphasis Added).
As we consider these Scriptures, we could say, “God found NO man who pleased Him!” BUT…
Matthew 3:17 (KJV) “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Emphasis Added).
Revelation 5:12 (KJV) “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Emphasis Added).
As we proceed, we will find that “Living to Please God” looks just like Jesus! We’ll talk next week!