A Different Take on How to Please God

in
Speaker: 
Andrew Fountain
Date: 
Sun, 2018-12-09

Sermon Outline - A Different Take on How to Please God

A Different Take on How to Please God

  1. The story of “Joe”
  2. What Joe discovers in the Bible
  3. What it looks like in practice

Happy

Happy

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Joe becomes a Christian
    • Joe becomes a Christian and learns that all his sins are forgiven
    • He is full of joy, his burden is light and his life is happy!

Law

Law

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Keeping the Commandments
    • Then he is told that to please God he needs to keep the commandments
    • Every day he examines himself and goes through a checklist of how well he is doing
    • He is told that he has the Spirit to help him, but it is still a great burden

lawburden

lawburden

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Great burden
    • He is told that he has the Spirit to help him, but it is still a great burden

Happy again

Happy again

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Not under Moses
    • Then one day he meets some people who explain to him that he is not under Moses but under Christ!
    • It is not the old external law he is under, but Jesus’ “law of love”
    • For a while he is happy again

law NT burden

law NT burden

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Jesus is harder!
    • Then he realizes that Jesus’ laws are far harder to keep than those of Moses
    • Jesus sets much higher standards

Happy again

Happy again

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Grace
    • Then he goes to a new church where they teach “grace”
    • He learns that he is now under grace, not law
    • He’s told that there is nothing he can do to make God love him more!
    • He is so happy and relaxed
    • Extreme grace movement e.g. All of Jesus’s teaching before the resurrection was law. (preaching the kingdom?)

Confused

Confused

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Confused
    • But after a while he is confused
    • What should he be doing if there is nothing he needs to do?
    • What about all those commands of Jesus?

happyish.

happyish.

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Motivation of love
    • He is told that now he is free to obey Jesus, motivated by love, not law
    • So he tried to do this
    • Constantly reminding himself that he was not earning God’s love
    • But doing it simply because he loved God
    • Does that sound good?

Uneasy

Uneasy

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Uneasy
    • But he still felt a vague sense of unease
  • He never felt he was doing enough
  • He knew that:
    • It was all of grace, a free gift
    • He was loved by the Father
    • That there was nothing he could do to earn God’s favour
  • But there was still a vague feeling that
    • God wasn’t happy with him
    • He had disappointed God
  • If I were to ask each of you, “When God looks at you right now, is he pleased with your life?”
    • You might answer, “it doesn’t matter because I have Jesus’ righteousness”
      • But that is avoiding the question
    • I suspect that most of you feel that you are letting God down to a certain extent
      • He’s disappointed in you
      • You are not the Christians you should be
      • even though we teach grace and you know that God’s love is not dependent on your performance
      • This is a problem in churches like ours which teach grace

Finally Happy

Finally Happy

Image source: Anne Fountain

  1. Finally…
    • Then one day Joe was reading Romans and Galatians…
  • and suddenly he GOT IT!
  • It was so obvious, why hadn’t he seen it before?

Romans 4

  1. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
  2. …faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
  3. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. 24It will be counted to us who believe in him…
  • Gal 3:6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”
    • (the quote is from Gen 15:6)

Romans 4:3

  • This is how he had always been taught how to read it:
  • “Abraham had faith and on the basis of that faith God transferred the righteousness of Christ to Abraham, and Abraham’s sin to Christ, who paid for it on the cross.”

Romans 4:9

  • “Abraham’s trust was counted to him as righteousness”

Romans 4:9

  • “Abraham’s trust was counted as having met the obligations of the covenant”
  • Jesus has met our legal obligations
  • So that God can count our trust as all he requires

So to sum up

  • What Joe discovered:
  • He was loved by God whatever, because of what Jesus has done
  • To please God, day by day, all he had to do was to trust him
  • That is all God was asking

It gives Jesus the most pleasure when

  • The Roman centurion who trusted in Jesus’ ability to heal his servant at a distance
    • Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.
  • The Woman who trusted Jesus for her daughter
    • Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
  • Little children who simply trusted

Then Joe remembered

  • Heb 11:6 Without trusting God it is impossible to please him
  • Rom 14:23 For whatever does not come from faith is sin.

So now Joe had an answer

  • An answer to his question “Is God pleased with me?”
  • He is pleased with me when I simply trust him
  • This is not a “work” because the very faith is a gift
  • So what does this look like on a Monday morning?

Monday Morning

  • Joe wakes up
    • slighly later than he should have due to forgetting to set the alarm
  • He arrives at work and realizes instantly that his co-worker Mary is in a bad mood
    • He knows how easily they “push each other’s buttons” and realizes a row is about to happen
  • Later that day Joe gets called into the bosses office
    • He gets chewed out for something he didn’t do
  • On the way home his mind is on other things and he has not thought about God for hours
    • He suddenly realized that he is doing something he shouldn’t be doing

So what is faith/trust?

  • Primarily it is allegiance (God or idols)
  1. Rest/Dependence (Abraham rested in the promise of a son)
  2. Obedience is the fruit (Abraham left his home country “by faith”)
  3. Perseverance—not giving up on trusting God (Abraham waited 25 years)
  • Real trust does not give up after a time. It continues to believe in the person, when the answer does not come immediately

Summary

  • God so loves it when you trust him!
  • It brings him great pleasure

Updated on 2018-12-09 by Andrew Fountain