Sunday, 24 April 2022

Pleasing God

 Scripture:  Hebrews 11 v 4 - 6: "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. note

5  By faith Enoch was translated 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.
6  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."

As His children, our main desire is to please God our Father.  The first and foremost way is by Faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

So those who are not born again are deceiving themselves that they are saved and forgiven.  Because to each person is given by God "the measure of faith".  This is the minimum amount given equally to everyone to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

When someone shares the gospel with us, the Holy Spirit ignites our measure of faith and also convicts us of sin.  He has been working on our conscience for years, ever since we first felt guilty for some wrongdoing.  Sometimes, if we ignore those pricks to our soul, we become hardened to the Holy Spirit, and to truth.

In those circumstances people may end up in gangs or fraud or other things that may lead to criminal activities.  That's a definite no-no to God, but He does not abandon people, He keeps up the reminders like post-it notes on the fridge door.

If people are open to receive the truth about Jesus, they are also soft in spirit to confess their sins and repent of them.  This is the door to Jesus we must all go through to reach salvation.  It starts with believing that God exists, that He IS!

When we know without any doubt that God is real, we then can believe in Jesus Christ, our Saviour, and all He did to get us rescued from the world system controlled by Satan.

He responds to what we do and say.  He sees our heart attitude, whether we are genuine or pretending, true or false.  He showed His righteous judgment between the first two brothers born in Eden, Cain and Abel.

They brought offerings to Him to honour Him and thank Him. Cain brought a selection of vegetables, fruit and herbs, Abel gave Him a roast dinner.  He enjoyed Abel's to the full but was unimpressed with Cain's effort.  And they both knew it.  Unfortunately, Cain got offended, jealous and angry with his brother and in a fit of rage he killed him.  No doubt God saw in Cain a ruthless, hard man who would be cruel and unloving.  God sent him far away to work without God's hand upon him.

Enoch was one who was more like God in righteousness and truth.  Enoch was greatly loved but he was surrounded by ever-increasing evil behaviour as the sins started in Eden exploded in every place.  He pleased God so much that he was translated out of darkness into light, without seeing death.  In other words Enoch was the first person ever "Raptured"!

Another man that pleased God was Elijah the Prophet.  Elisha, his servant, saw Elijah being taken to Heaven by chariots of fire.  He too escaped death by being totally righteous in an increasingly evil world.

Colossians 1 v 10 - 13: "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"

In the New Covenant those who walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing will be delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of His Son.  This happens here while we are still alive on Earth.  We begin to live in "kingdom come" and shun the things of the world.  We are caretakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

We have learned to love righteousness and hate sin.  To live a life in the service of our King, doing that which is pleasing to God.  That is our first and total objective.  Without faith it is impossible to please Him so we must grow our faith.

When we see how prayer works we become bolder and more confident in our approach to God.  If we ask Him for things according to His will, He hears us, and if He hears us then we receive what we asked for.  We must first find out what the will of God is, then pray that very thing, and wait for great results.

This week I was dismayed when Putin resumed his cruel onslaught against Ukraine.  I prayed that he would feel the same way as the Ukrainians were feeling.  Suddenly, he must be paranoid with fear, as at least four of his inner circle have "committed suicide" after trying to persuade him to stop the war.  

And suddenly, the Siberian forests are on fire and have destroyed 60 homes and a major chemical factory on the outskirts of Moscow.  Thick black smoke has engulfed the city.  I believe God heard and answered that prayer and I give Him all the glory for it.  The fact that Putin has a nuke-proof bunker in Siberia, the out of control wildfires raging through Siberia are a definite sign of God's anger being unleashed on a man who is truly not pleasing Him.  Putin is just like Cain.  He thinks what he is doing is right and just, when it is anything but.

Our Father is wanting us to be like Him.  He wants us to be good, kind, loving people, who uphold the truth.  He wants us to be like David, a man after His own heart.  David was not perfect but he had a soft conscience.  He kept short accounts of his sins before God and was quick to repent.  He had a very active relationship with the Lord, consulting Him at the Ark of the Covenant whenever He needed help.

David is a good example of a person who pleased God.  He gave his best to the Lord.  He brought down Goliath with one stone from a sling which defeated the Philistine army and released Israel from a sticky situation.  He did it by mountain-moving faith in the Lord.  The kind of faith we need to have to please the King.

The whole Bible is God's Word to us so we cannot pick and choose which verses we prefer, and just obey those.  Our lives are precious to God and if we obey His Word He honours us with blessings and love.  

If we insist on being carnal, worldly, Christians we are in danger of trampling underfoot the Blood of Jesus, which is totally displeasing to our Father.  The Holy Spirit departs from these people and they are left wandering in the wilderness without true spiritual light.  

So the message is loud and clear, we want to be like Abel, Enoch, Elijah, David and Jesus to be found pleasing to God.  Let us remember that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him.  He wants us to feel free to approach Him at any time as His door is always open.  We must also search the Bible for knowledge about what He loves and hates.  This will help our faith grow and improve our prayer life.

I am reminded of the words of the Wolverines in the movie "Red Dawn" when the North Koreans invaded the USA.  These young people became a force to be reckoned with as they set up their own resistance group.  They said it was easy to fight because to the North Koreans it was just a place but to us it is our home.  That's the difference between Ukraine and Russia.  The Ukrainians are defending their homes.

Spiritually, Christians are in a fight against evil that attacks the Kingdom of God to destroy it.  This kingdom is our everlasting home and if we do not fight for it against apostasy, false doctrines, wolves in sheep's clothing, and false prophets, we will fall.  Our God will always fight with us and for us but if we do nothing, nothing will go right.  

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, the Christian walk is not on rose petals, its thorny and tough but if we please You it gets easier.  Help us to know You, to grow in our faith, and diligently seek Your face when we are in need.
We look forward to the day this is all behind us and we are safe in our eternal home.  Help us to bring everyone we know home with us as this will truly please You.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.