Sermon: Living to Please God

Living to Please God
Hebrews 11:4-6
March 13, 2022

A year ago, Sirin Kale, a journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian, wrote:

In the past fortnight, I have bought the following items online: a hideous cat tree that takes up most of my living room, a lavender pillow spray, two scarves, a pair of gloves, two candles, a sheet mask, a pair of fleece-lined jogging bottoms (so comfy!), a card-holder and an under-eye brightening cream. None of these purchases were essential. Many I haven’t even taken out of the packaging, leaving them in a pile by the front door.…

When Covid hit, I decided: no more frivolous purchases. Journalism is a precarious industry at the best of times. But the pandemic just wouldn’t stop. March dragged into June then into January. My days were flabby and formless. I was bored. So I started buying things online, for the small thrill of hitting “check out” and having them arrive a few days later, a treat to break up the monotony of yet another day.

I am not alone. The pandemic has prompted a frenzy of online spending.

Maybe you know people like Sirin.  Maybe you are someone like Sirin. 

Where do you find your satisfaction and pleasure?  I know you know the right answers:  God, Jesus, the Bible, worship, godly friends and fellowship.  But in your heart of hearts, when the pressure is up and life is hard, where do you go for pleasure?  Where do you seek your satisfaction?

We have just begun a series of sermons in Hebrews 11 — “Living…By Faith.”  Last week we said that living by faith is living with confidence that God will accomplish all He has promised to do.  We do not need to despair about the future.  The majority of the chapter is a series of testimonies to people who lived that way — who didn’t despair, and did live dependently on God in adverse circumstances.  This morning, we begin unpacking some of those stories.  They are real stories with real (i.e., hard) circumstances.  Do hard times preclude living by faith?  What does a faithful life in hard times look like?

The way to live by faith is to live for God’s pleasure.

To live for His pleasure means we want what He wants — and specifically, we want what He wants for our lives; we lay aside our personal and fleshly desires and submit to His direction for us.  And we want what He wants for us because we believe that He always wants what is best for us.

In these verses, the writer offers two examples of pleasing God and three principles for pleasing God.

  1. Abel: Pleasing God in Obedient Worship (v. 4)
  2. Enoch: Pleasing God When Opposed in the World (v. 5)
  3. Principles for Pleasing God (v. 6)
  • You Must Come to Him
  • You Must Believe He is God
  • You Must Believe He is Gracious

Download the rest of this sermon on Hebrews 11:4-6

The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.

Far over the Misty Mountains cold…” by Himalayan Trails is marked with CC BY 2.0.

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