Living to Please God, Pt. 2
March 20, 2022
A generation ago, Charles Schultz helped us identify the nature of happiness:
- Happiness is a thumb and a blanket (Linus)
- Happiness is an umbrella and a new raincoat (Lucy)
- Happiness is having a friend (Charlie Brown and Snoopy)
- Happiness is sharing (Linus and Snoopy)
- Happiness is finally getting your big teeth (Linus)
- Happiness is a pile of leaves (Charlie Brown)
- And of course, happiness is a warm puppy.
Centuries ago, the American constitution made happiness and its pursuit a fundamental right: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
About a century before that, Blaise Pascal wrote, “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”
Those who drink too much alcohol and those who are teetotalers are both pursuing happiness. Those who spend indiscriminately on Amazon and those who are spendthrifts are both pursuing happiness.
The question is not whether we are pursuing happiness. The question is where we will pursue happiness. What will we pursue in a quest to make ourselves happy? The Hebrew readers thought they could make life better by changing their circumstances and avoiding persecution, so they were contemplating giving up faith in Christ. So the writer to the Hebrews is exhorting those readers to find their joy in Christ by remaining faithful to Him. In the opening section of the chapter, he teaches us this:
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.
- Abel: Pleasing God in Obedient Worship (v. 4)
- Enoch: Pleasing God When Opposed in the World (v. 5)
- Principles for Pleasing God (v. 6)
- What does it mean to please God?
- If God can be pleased, can He also be displeased?
- 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 (Pt. 2).
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.