Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Live to Please God

A couple of the most interesting topics for after dinner include discussing the meaning of life or the big question of why we are here and what is our purpose. Since the beginning of time and recorded history, men and women have asked those two questions and pondered them. Philosophers, authors, poets and a whole host of others have espoused their own answers to these questions. If I asked you to provide me with your answers to these questions, I would receive a different answer from each person.

As a Christian, our purpose is very clear. We are here to love and serve God and each other. When asked by the Pharisees which one of the Mosaic Laws is the most important, Jesus, in Matthew 22, replies to them, “37 ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 8 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

When you take a look at the Mosaic Law as provided by Moses, you see that the laws can easily be categorized into two areas. The first governs our relationship with the Lord and the second our relationship with each other. Jesus points out that the entire law and the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. It is easy to see that if we follow just these two laws all of the other ones simply fall into place and we are doing what God has in mind for us. 

By following these laws, we are able not only to please God but we are also able to gain a certain satisfaction in knowing that we are helping others because we love them. We provide for the hungry, the thirsty and needy not for material gain. Just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and served them, we, too, must humble ourselves and serve those in need. By acting as a servant to others, we fulfill that part of the law that requires us to love one another. 

It is not enough to simply say that we believe and that we are Christians. Years ago, a pastor asked a group of people in his congregation one important question, “Do you believe?” Some answered, “Yes. I believe.” Others gave a different response. They stated, “I was baptized.” The question was not a trick question. Believing is more than just being baptized and calling yourself a Christian. It is acting and having faith in God and following His will in our lives. 

In Galatians 1, Paul puts it this way, “10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” The word, “servant”, should be stressed. We are not here for the approval of people or to serve our own egos. We are here on this planet to work in the fields to reap the harvest for the kingdom. We are not here to garner the praise of men and to inflate our own egos. Once we have the servant mentality firmly entrenched in our hearts and minds, we can begin to see what it means to please God. We are here to seek His approval and to demonstrate to the world that we truly are the followers of Christ Jesus. 

Jesus, when talking about the unbelief of people in John 12, said this about those who believed in him, but were afraid to admit it, “43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” When it comes to pleasing God, we must be prepared to part ways with the crowd. Many will profess their faith, but few would be willing to endure the scorn of the mob. We see it happening everyday around the world. Christians ridiculed or persecuted for their faith. Part of living to please God is knowing when to part company with those around us. We must be prepared, as Paul in 2 Corinthians 6 aptly states, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.

Pleasing God is very difficult at times. We may be called to do those things that will bring the wrath of the mob upon us. But, it is a small price to pay when we consider the real price that was paid by Jesus on a cross. He humbled himself and died as a criminal upon a cross to act as our sacrifice. The price he paid was extremely high, but it was one that he willingly paid for us. 

When we accept the salvation provided through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, we profess our belief that Jesus is the Christ and the Messiah. As we act upon that belief and live our lives to please God, we demonstrate that we have faith in Him. We gladly profess our faith and understand what it means to be children of El Shaddai, “God Almighty”. Let us look at Hebrews 11. The author tells us, “6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

By seeking Him daily, we fulfill that purpose of loving God with all of our hearts, minds and souls. We cannot approach the throne of God by simply saying a few words. We must truly believe and demonstrate that belief through praise and worship daily. We cannot just simply praise and worship Him on Sunday and forget about Him during the rest of the week. True service to God is a full-time act of faith. 

As we go through our day, we must continually be seeking those things that please God. We cannot rely on our own understanding. We must pray for wisdom and the ability to discern His message and direction in our lives. We must follow His will and be willing to accept wherever He leads us. Paul, in his epistle to the church at Ephesus, tells us, “10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” By being in tune with God and His will, we can please the Lord and live a life with purpose and fulfillment.

Looking at my own life, I can easily see the periods when I feel unfulfilled and lacking in purpose. When I examine them closely, I see the error of my ways. I have fallen away from seeking God and His will in my life. I have gone my own way and sought after those things that belong to this world and not those of His kingdom. I wandered aimlessly from one situation to the next and wondered why I felt lost and without purpose. I felt like a ship without a rudder set adrift in a sea of woe. After realizing what I have done, I quickly return to the Lord and I feel that my life has a purpose and that I have a new course. My rudder has been restored and my compass points to the one true way back to the Father, Christ Jesus. 

I ask you to think about your own life. Have you lost your way? Do you feel that you have no purpose in your life? Do you drift from one situation to another? If you feel that you are adrift, it is never too late to get your rudder fixed and set your compass on Jesus to get you back on course. Once you have done that, you will again find that purpose to live to please God and love others as you love yourself. If we all had that purpose firmly planted in our hearts, minds and souls, we all can live a fulfilling life and know that we can stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

No comments:

Post a Comment