Colossians 1:9-14 “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him”
Are you living a life that is pleasing to God? If you were pressed to give an answer how would you respond? We tend to define “PLEASING GOD” by our own experiences & beliefs, our likes and dislikes, and our positions about life and liberty. Maybe we think pleasing God means, having been baptized for the remission of sins which is extremely important for salvation! Or, it's the absence of certain vices … not coveting, murdering, stealing, committing adultery, and other BIG sins. This too is extremely important.
Is this ALL that is required? What is The litmus test for fully pleasing God? Is it the one who believes just like me? They must love the people that I love, show disdain for the people I don’t like, and can’t be pleasing to God unless they do. We want to live lives that please God so we want everyone to think, act, and feel the way we do about all of the issues. The Bible does communicate the idea about “Pleasing God” so consider these verses … Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, and 1 John 3:16-24. Pleasing God is absolutely essential to our relationship with Him. This cannot be overstated!
Here are some thoughts about what “PLEASING TO GOD” looks like from a Biblical perspective.
1. WE MUST BEAR FRUIT (John 15:1-8, Galatians 5:19-25) It is not a matter of trying harder, it is a matter of drawing closer. We don’t go out to bear more fruit ... we seek to draw closer to Him and the fruit will come naturally. How do we know if we are doing a good job? It’s whether or not we are different in the day to day world. The life that pleases God is the one that glorifies God in daily living. It is seen in how we do our job; how we treat our co-workers; the tactics we use and won’t use to make a profit; the way we handle our mistakes; the way we treat our family, friends, and neighbors.
2. WE MUST CONTINUE TO GROW CLOSER TO GOD (James 4:8) There is a difference in knowing God and knowing about God. It’s not only about information but also about transformation. Both are equally important! When you read the Bible, do you read it to discern God’s will or do you read it to prove a point? Now there’s nothing wrong with defending the faith (Jude 3) but our reason for reading and studying the word of God should be to draw closer to God in our relationship. In Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” and in 2 Peter 3:18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Bible study must be all about God and our relationship with Him. An added benefit is that we know, understand, and are able to defend the truth of our Great God.
3. WE MUST ENDURE TROUBLED TIMES WITH FAITH & PATIENCE (Romans 8:18-39) God is in control! Neither circumstance nor people can overthrow His plan. There is a purpose in the things that happen. God only does Good (James 1:17)! God never makes a mistake...NEVER! This world is not our home so don’t let the happenings of this world get you down. Therefore, in hard times…we don’t complain...we trust. We don’t walk away...we listen and try to learn. We don’t despair...we hang on tighter. And, we trust God because He is in control!
4. WE MUST BE GIVING THANKS (1 Thessalonians 5:18) How much do we complain? We must learn to open our eyes to REALITY and the reality is that we take too many BLESSINGS for granted!!! We may never fully understand in this life how much God has truly blessed us. However, counting our blessings will be a good start. We must realize that In Christ we have indescribable blessings. We must live in a way that expresses gratitude for the amazing gifts that God has given! We might not fully understand them but we can certainly live and express our thanks to God for all He has given.
Notice in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Again, Are you living a life that is pleasing to God? I have no doubt that you talk about faith but the question to ask is: do they see faith in your living? Look at your life . . . What do YOU see? Hopefully a life that is pleasing to God!
John 4:35 “Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
I recently read an article describing the effect of looking down at a 4.7-6.5 inch cell phone screen. The result of constantly looking down at a cell phone screen results in a condition called “text neck” which can be quite painful.
The article states, “Text neck is a modern age term coined by US chiropractor Dr. DL Fishman to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on handheld devices over a sustained period of time. It is also known as Turtle Neck posture or anterior head syndrome.”
Looking down at our phones keep us from looking out and being aware of our surroundings and the people that fill our world. It also affects the psychological development of children, important relationships, and our driving. The message is clear, WE NEED TO LOOK UP because lives could be won or lost as a result!!
Well, Jesus wasn’t talking about cell phone use in our text but make no mistake about it, He was definitely telling His disciples to LOOK UP. They weren’t aware of the people who were all around them that needed salvation. So, the instructions to His disciples were LOOK UP and LOOK OUT because it’s harvest time now and not later.
Jesus would give the same message to us today because it is harvest time. So church, LOOK UP!!! “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” - Proverbs 11:30
The apostle Paul communicates in several passages the important truth that Christ only has ONE BODY (4 times in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 2 times in Romans 12:4-5, Ephesians 1:23, 4:4). His message is so radically different than what we see in Christianity today.
It was important for Paul to write this wonderful truth because he received it directly from God. Christ said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18) and that He will be the head of it (Ephesians 1:22-23 according to Paul) because God has given Him all authority (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus gave His blood for the church (Acts 20:28)! He willingly sacrificed Himself for His precious body. It is His blood that runs through the Fulshear church of Christ. As blood bought members of His body we must be active in doing His will and live in harmony with His word and people. Reaching out in love with HIs hands and walking courageously with His feet are essential to being the body of Christ. The body considers others first by living selfless and giving much. We must be active participants working and functioning as a healthy body.
There is only ONE BODY and there are many members that form is body. If you are not a part of His body then you can become a part by….BELIEVING IN HIM (John 8:24), REPENTING OF YOUR SINS (Luke 13:3&5), CONFESSING HIM AS LORD (Matthew 10:32-33), and by being BAPTIZED IN CHRIST FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS (Mark 16:16).
Everyone is welcome to be a part of the ONE BODY of Christ which is His church. Every part of His body is encouraged to be an active participant for the overall health and growth of the body. Everyone is also needed to help build a great church in Fulshear ....so let’s get busy working together!!
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.“ -- 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 & Ephesians 1:22-23
In life there are moments when we feel all alone. There are a variety of reasons why we experience this feeling. It could be because of betrayal, a terrible mistake, or a difference in moral living. Again, there are many reasons for this feeling.
Jesus was no stranger to this feeling of loneliness. It appears that our Lord was no exception to these same feelings of loneliness along with the overwhelming experiences of life. Notice some of the more profound statements found in Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
As we open up our Bibles to John 18 we notice that Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and accused falsely for things He did not do. We know that it is one of His apostles (Judas) who betrayed Him in 18:2. He is DENIED by one of those closest to Him (Peter) in John 18:15-18 and 25-27. He is questioned and ultimately REJECTED by the religious
Establishment in 19-24 and sent bound to Pilate. Pilate is the one person in the process who “finds no fault in Him” (John 19:4) and he is not even religious. However, Pilate does not do the right thing but rather SENTENCES Him to death. He is MOCKED and SCOURGED by the Roman soldiers in chapter 19:1-4. He is finally CRUCIFIED in 19:17-24.
There is no place as LONELY and cruel as the CROSS!! His experience at Calvary was unjust, horrible, embarrassing, and ultimately cruel!! This helps me to understand why Jesus is our perfect example and motivation for life (1 Peter 2:21).
Jesus was PREPARED before the experience at Calvary. He didn’t wait until that moment to try and figure it out or prepare Himself spiritually. Rather, He prayed in the garden and walked with the Father anticipating a horrible event. He was not overcome with fear but rather TRUSTED that His Father was bigger than any experience in this life. While He EXPERIENCED loneliness He was not overcome with it.
We must be reminded that we too will experience similar feelings, and tragedy but we are not to be overcome by them. Remember, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19
Remember, when walking hand in hand with Jesus you are never alone!
We are living in uniquely difficult times. Our current experience is unlike any other that we have faced before. There are many challenges that we have overcome during this pandemic individually and collectively. One of the many challenges we continue to face is to remain committed to sincerely and reverently worship our great God.
Worship is essential to our relationship with God. It should be stated that while our location for worship has changed, the intent and desire of our heart should not change.
Worshipping virtually has been a blessing in many ways. The challenge is with the fact that we cannot physically be together. We were/are made for fellowship with God and with His family. In worship we experience these two great opportunities, being together with God and with His people.
As we worship God together, we must keep in mind that it must be offered in spirit and truth (John 4:24). In worship we must engage our hearts in sincere faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must offer a sacrifice of praise with thanksgiving in our hearts and on our lips (Hebrews 13:15) when we come together.
God desires that we worship Him because He alone is worthy of our praise. We need to understand that our eternal destiny depends on our worship of the one true and living God. He demands, seeks, and requests our worship because He alone deserves it, and because it is in our nature as Christians to worship Him and our eternal destiny depends on it.
Let’s anticipate worshipping God this Sunday!!
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” — Psalms 100:1-5