Friday, November 11, 2011

What pleases God? Let the Scriptures speak…

I read in Ephesians 5:10 where it says in the NIV, “and find out what pleases the Lord.”  What pleases the Lord?

Hebrews 11:6: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Hebrews 13:16: "…and do not forget to do good and share with others for with such sacrifices, God is pleased."

Romans 12:1-2: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Psalm 69:30-31: "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs."

Micah 6:7-8: "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

I Timothy 5:4: "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

I Timothy 2:1-3: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,"

Colossians 1:10-13: "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,"

1 Thessalonians. 4:1-12: "Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

Galatians 6:7-8: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

Romans 15:2-4: "Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

1 John 2:17: "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Coming and Going

Matt. 28:16-20: “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Luke 14:23: "Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full."

The church today is enamored with programs. If we choose the right program “they” will come. We need to have a “good” praise team; we buff up everything physical and spiritual. We hope people will be impressed by our church. They come and they stay until they see our warts. (Yes, we all have a flat side.) They come and stay until they see the good and the bad. Then they leave to visit another “buffed up” church and the endless search goes on for the perfect church, one they will never find this side of Heaven.

Jesus told us to go; go to all the world; go to the world’s turf. It is rarely done today in the “real world” or “the street”. The world sees us (the church) as irrelevant and out of touch; distant and afraid.

But when we go to a hurting world, we meet them where they are—no preconceived notions here. When we meet the world on their turf they will wonder “they must be different because no one has come to us before.” When we go to the world, they are comfortable with us. We see them as they are and they see us as we are, warts included, in the midst of pain, suffering, mourning, hassle, and dirt. They see us for who we are, no buffed up image here. In these situations we do not impress, we minister.

When we go to the back roads, the out of the way places and share Christ, the “street” and we (the church) don’t have any buffed up image to maintain. Their expectations of us, the church, is real. We see them for who they are, we remember who we once were; we are not puffed up, and pumped up “suits of hot air.” We live out our compassion. We are to live our faith and they see it.

The “street” is smart; it sees a fraud a mile away. They have had to be “street smart” to survive and survive they will. But if they don’t know Christ, they struggle and survive this life only to spend eternity in hell. How sad.

How will they know Christ? When we go to the street and the world and reveal Christ to them. When Christ graciously chooses them, He says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

To the world He says come. He tells us to go