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, our discussion ended with…
As we proceed, we will find that “Living to Please God” looks just like Jesus!
We talked about being soldiers in God’s Army and the need to be able to pass God’s “inspection” as He searches us. I shared some challenges and commands that Paul gave to Timothy concerning being faithful on God’s Battlefield. Paul was serious about this! Therefore, he sent Timothy to “review the troops” in the Church of Thessalonica to verify that their spiritual character and condition were pleasing to God.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (KJV) “Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:” (Emphasis Added).
Paul’s concern was whether the believers were standing firm in their belief in Jesus Christ. He also knew they would need to be properly motivated and encouraged to “keep on keeping on the firing line” in the face of great persecutions. Therefore, Paul sent Timothy because of his excellent example of Christian perseverance, purpose, and posture.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (MSG) “So when we couldn’t stand being separated from you any longer and could find no way to visit you ourselves, we stayed in Athens and sent Timothy to get you up and about, cheering you on so you wouldn’t be discouraged by these hard times. He’s a brother and companion in the faith, God’s man in spreading the Message, preaching Christ” (Emphasis Added).
Paul knew that the only way to overcome the obstacles of the enemy and environment is by “Living to Please God.” He sent Timothy to encourage the believers in Thessalonica to “Live to Please God” by their…
“Steadfastness” pleases God by
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5 (KJV) “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain” (Emphasis Added).
Paul had been diligent in the nurture and admonition of the church in Thessalonica. In such diligence, he had been faithful to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ as one that would be identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ as well as His successes. Paul gave the new converts at Thessalonica a sobering promise – persecution, persecution, and more persecution.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 (MSG) “Not that the troubles should come as any surprise to you. You’ve always known that we’re in for this kind of thing. It’s part of our calling. When we were with you, we made it quite clear that there was trouble ahead. And now that it’s happened, you know what it’s like” (Emphasis Added).
Personal experience and confessions of many Christians bear testimony that faithfully serving the Lord, and practicing “Living to Please God,” are not as difficult to achieve in the infancy of our Salvation. The excitement of coming into a new relationship with Jesus Christ that produces the reality that God is our Father while the Holy Spirit bears witness that we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ prompts us to eagerly volunteer to serve in God’s Vineyard. However, it does not take long before the heat of daily trials, the heaviness of daily temptations, and the harshness of daily tiredness mount a diabolical attack upon our godly dedication, determination, and duty.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Enjoy when you can and endure when you must.” He was correct! It is easy to enjoy our Salvation but being identified with Jesus Christ in a spiritually lost and dying world provokes the Enemy to attack us with one goal in mind – disturb our faith and destroy our faithfulness!
Thus, Jesus said, Matthew 10:22 (KJV) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Emphasis Added).
Being able to endure hardness, hatred, and heartache is certainly a tribute of devotion to God. However, being able to turn these trials into glory is a triumph of faith!
Do Right Anyway!
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for some underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
–James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 54
As stated previously, The Man, Christ Jesus expressed His concern about finding faithfulness still flourishing when He returned…
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).
Paul expressed the same concern for “finding faithfulness” among the believers in Thessalonica as Jesus’ concern to finding faithfulness when he returns. He had a genuine, godly fear that Satan would be successful in undermining the faithfulness of the believers in Thessalonica.
1 Thessalonians 3:5 (MSG) “That’s why I couldn’t quit worrying; I had to know for myself how you were doing in the faith. I didn’t want the Tempter getting to you and tearing down everything we had built up together” (Emphasis Added).
Christ will reward “Faithfulness” when He returns.
Luke 12:37 (KJV) “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”
Luke 12:37 (MSG) “Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them.”
With this in mind, let us pray as Thomas Aquinas prayed…
“Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.”
We’ll talk more next week!!