Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1106 MP3 Audio File Video File

Pleasing Yahweh Pt. 2

(1 Thess. 2:4)

Delivered 03/06/22

Good morning, Bereans, last week we looked at the first seven verses in chapter 2 in our study of 1 Thessalonians. We saw Paul defending himself against opponents who were trying to discredit him so that his gospel would be discredited. We went through those verse exegetically, for our time this morning I want to focus on Paul's words in verse 4.

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV

Paul says that he was speaking, "not to please man, but to please God"—Paul not only spoke to please God, all he did was to please God. Paul said pleasing God was his aim.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV

Pleasing God was not just a personal passion for Paul, he admonished all believers to live in a way that was pleasing to God.

so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1:10 ESV

Paul lived his life in imitation of Yeshua, who lived to please the Father.

And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him." John 8:29 ESV

"For I always do the things that are pleasing to Him"—how would you like to be able to say that? How strong is your desire to please God? What are you willing to sacrifice, what pain are you willing to endure that you may live in a way that is pleasing to God?

The Lord Yeshua lived his whole life with the aim of pleasing the Father. And as Christians, we are called to imitate Christ, we are called to live our lives to please God.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1 ESV

"Be imitators of God"—"be" is a present imperative and has the idea "to become." We are to develop continuously into imitators of Yahweh. The Greek word for "imitator" is mimetes, which is the word that we get our English word "mimic" from: to mimic or to copy something. What it denotes is an actor, an actor who spends time and energy in studying a character with the view to reproducing it. Mimetes is used six times in the New Testament, always in conjunction with "to become," and always of imitating the Lord or someone who is following the Lord. We are to display Him in all that we say and do.

As a preterist I often get the question, now what? If the Lord returned in AD 70, what are we supposed to be doing? Here is your answer. We are to be imitators of God.

The constant call to the Christian is to be like Yahweh. It is Yahweh's purpose that each of us reflect the image of our Father.

Paul's reason for living was to be like Yeshua. This should also be our reason for living. So, how are you doing with this? Is your life structured in such a way as to please God by all you do? Is pleasing God important to you?

I believe the Bible tells us the things God wants from us, it tells us how to please Him. So, for our time this morning I want to look at what the Bible says about how we are to please Yahweh. But before we look at those, I want to point out the prerequisite for doing what pleases God. When I talk about pleasing God, I'm not talking about trying to earn our way into heaven. The Bible tells us that we can only get to heaven by the grace of God.

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Yeshua, Romans 3:24 ESV

The word "justified" means: "to declare righteous." It a legal act on the part of God. We see here that we are justified "by His grace as a gift." The word "grace" means: "free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment." The word "gift" is the Greek word dorean. It means: "for nothing, gratuitously, gift-wise or with out a cause." The cause of our justification is in God and not in us.

"By His grace as a gift" is redoubled to show that the act of justification is all of God. Nothing in this act of justification belongs to, or proceeds from man.

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— Ephesians 2:5 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

Verse 5 says that grace is the cause of our salvation, whereas, verse 8 says that grace and nothing else is the cause. The only way anyone ever gets to heaven is by the grace of God. Yet, the majority of people today who think they are going to heaven think they are going there because of something they do, or don't do. Men think that they can earn their way into heaven.

When I talk about pleasing God, we must make a distinction between our position and our practice. As believers, we stand "righteous" before God. The good news of the Bible is that our debts were paid in full by Yeshua. And not only has the Christian's debt been paid in full, there is no possibility of going into debt again. Yeshua paid the debt of all our sins: past, present, and future. This is GRACE!

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, Colossians 2:13 ESV

I hope that you realize that your salvation is totally of Grace. If you are trusting to any degree in you own morality or religious attainments, or if you believe God will somehow recognize any of your good works as merit toward your salvation, you need to seriously consider if you are truly a Christian.

Believer, we often fail to live as we should, we often sin and fall short of His glory. There are many times when we feel so far from God. But, believer, hang on to the truth that God has made us righteous, he has made us accepted in the Beloved. We will never suffer His wrath, we will never face His punishment, because Yeshua has born it for us.

So, when I talk about pleasing God, I'm talking to Christians about how they live. We are to live in such a way to please God by all that we do. Sometimes people feel that they're not doing what God wants them to do with their lives. Sometimes people do weird things because they think they're doing what God wants them to do. But we don't have to guess, the Bible makes it clear what it is that pleases God. Pleasing God is not something that can be done once and for all and gotten out of the way on a Friday evening so you can go and do as you please on Saturday morning, like mowing the lawn or something. Pleasing God is a way of life.

That being said, when we ask ourselves, how do I live so as to please Yahweh, there are several things that come to mind. Here they are:


but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." Hebrews 10:38 ESV
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. Hebrews 11:5 ESV
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 ESV

There is no way we can live a life that is pleasing to God without trusting Him. God wants us to trust Him. Apart from faith we cannot please God. So, apart from faith, it doesn't much matter what we do.

A very basic and simple fact of life is this: All of our valuable relationships in life are built on trust. When a husband and wife stop trusting each other, they may continue to be married, but they can no longer have a happy marriage. When two friends stop trusting each other, they may continue to see each other, but they no longer have a true friendship. If that is true in our human relationships, how much more true in our relationship to God?

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him"- here the writer lays down an axiomatic truth. He uses the aorist tense in the infinitive "to please." The statement is universal in its application and timeless. The idea is: without faith it is impossible to please him at all.

The Christian life starts with an act of faith. We believe that Christ will save us if we trust in Him alone for our redemption.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV

That is a promise; when I believe in Christ, I am given everlasting life. When I come to the living God as a guilty sinner who deserves wrath, trusting in Yeshua and Him alone for my redemption, I am engaged in an act of faith. I've never seen God. I've never seen this place called "heaven." I've never seen Yeshua. But by faith those things which I cannot see become realities to me. But trusting God for my eternal salvation is only the beginning. It is the start of a journey that cannot be traveled successfully in any other way but by a growing faith.

Thousands of believers have trusted Christ for their salvation, but are not living in faith, trusting God in each and every area of their lives. We should be people who live by faith. Everyday and in every way we should be trusting God in our daily lives. But are we? Do we really trust God? When you are hurting and your life seems to be coming apart, do you trust God?

When we fail to trust God, we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness. God views our distrust as seriously as He views our disobedience. When the children of Israel were hungry, they spoke against God.

They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?" Therefore, when the LORD heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, Psalms 78:19-21 ESV

Why was it that God was so angry with them?

because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. Psalms 78:22 ESV

In order to trust God, we must know Him in an intimate, personal way. David said:

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalms 9:10 ESV

In Hebraic thought a name is not merely an arbitrary designation or a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named. In English, we often refer to a person's reputation as his "good name." The Hebrew concept of a name is very similar to this idea.

Those who know Your character will put their trust in You. To know God's character is to be able to trust Him. Do you know God well enough to trust Him? Do you know Him well enough to have such confidence in Him that you believe He is with you in your adversity even though you do not see any evidence of His presence and His power? To know God's name is to know Him in an intimate personal way. Do you have such a relationship with God and such a confidence in Him that you believe He is with you in your adversity, even though you do not see any evidence of His presence and His power? Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. Believer, our faith pleases Yahweh.

2. Worship

When we talk about worship, primarily we think of this—the worship service. Worship is more than just getting together to read Bible passages, sing songs, pray, listen to somebody preach—true worship comes from the heart. It's an expression of adoration. Worship can take place here, but just because we're here doesn't necessarily mean we're worshiping. If it's not coming out of our heart, then it's just a ritual—and ritual, without the corresponding heart-attitude, has never satisfied God.

What is worship? Worship is honor and adoration directed to God. The New Testament uses several words for worship. Two of them are particularly noteworthy: proskuneo, which means: "to kiss toward, to bow down." It signifies humble adoration. Another word used for worship is latreuo, which means: "rendering honor or paying homage. Both terms carry the idea of giving, because worship is giving something to God. It begins with the giving of ourselves, and then of our attitudes, and then our possessions.

Worship is a heart attitude.

For God is my witness, whom I serve [latreuo] with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you Romans 1:9 ESV

Worship is often connected to sharing the gospel with an unbeliever.

to be a minister of Christ Yeshua to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:16 ESV

The word "minister" here is leitourgos which means, a worshipper of God.

Giving is also an expression of worship.

I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. Philippians 4:18 ESV

Notice the words Paul uses here; "fragrant" is from the Greek word euodia, and "offering" is from the word osme, and "sacrifice" is from the Greek word thusia. What is really interesting about these words is that all three of them are used in Ephesians 5:2 of Christ's sacrificial offering of Himself to God in man's behalf.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant [osme] offering [euodia] and sacrifice [thusia] to God. Ephesians 5:2 ESV

Paul viewed their gift as an offering to God, a sacrifice that was pleasing to God.

Not all people witness, or study, or give for the same reason. Some do it out of a legalistic duty in order to earn God's favor. But some do it out of love and gratitude for all that God has done for them—this is true worship.

In November of 1995, Paul Harvey told this story: "The Butterball Turkey Company set up a hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for twenty-three years. The operator told her it might be safe if the freezer had been kept below zero degrees the entire time. But the operator warned the woman that, even if it were safe, the flavor had probably deteriorated, and she wouldn't recommend eating it. The caller replied, 'That's what we thought. We'll just give it to the church.'"

True worship comes out of a desire to please God, to show one's gratitude to God, to show one's love for God. True worship comes from the heart—a right reason behind it. And if we offer up something to God (time, physical effort, prayer, money, service to others) with the right heart, a heart of love and adoration and thanksgiving, then that is true worship. Let's not kid ourselves, someone can come faithfully to a worship service and never worship. We can do wonderful things for people and never worship. The essence of worship lies in the heart of the worshiper, not in the deed that is done and called worship. What pleases God? God is pleased when we trust Him, and when we worship Him from our hearts. Another thing that please God is:

3. Service.

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV

Paul was pleasing God through his service of preaching the gospel.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV

In the Tanakh, the priest class served on behalf of all Israel, and each family offered sacrifices to atone for their sins. In the New Testament, under the New Covenant, we serve not out of a sense of needing to atone for our sins (they are atoned for once and for all in Yeshua's death) but out of a sense of gratitude and love for God. Sometimes preachers have a tendency to make it sound like what they do is more pleasing to God than what you "ordinary Christians" do. However, the Bible says

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23 ESV

This means that the field of what we can do for God is wide open. Whatever you do as a vocation, you can do that in service to God. A surgeon at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, before an operation, said to his patient, "See these hands. They are the best in this hospital. And I want you to know that before I operate, I'll be on my knees for an hour."

Peter Drucker said, "Religion lives off the excess of culture," meaning it is something people do in their spare time. That may be true for some, but it is not supposed to be true for Christians. Whatever we do, if done in the right attitude and for the right reasons, can be just as righteous and pleasing to God as when we come to a formal worship service. God just wants us to serve Him out of love and gratitude. A fourth thing that the Bible teaches that pleases God is:

4. Prayer.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. Proverbs 15:8 ESV

I don't think they did a good job on the translation of this verse. Most translations have delight.

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is his delight. Proverbs 15:8 CSB

We know that Yahweh is self-sufficient! He has no needs. Since that is the way God is, we're not surprised to learn from Scripture that the way to please God is to come to him to get and not to give. From the Scriptures I learn that God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer—my need. God is delighted, not by the things I have to offer Him, but by the acknowledging of my need of Him in every area of my life.

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalms 147:10-11 ESV

In other words, God delights not when we offer him our strength, but when we hope in his. This good news is based firmly on a vision of God as sovereign, self-sufficient and free. If we do not have this foundational knowledge of God in place when we ask how we can please him, our efforts to please him will become subtle means of self-exaltation and legalistic striving.

Prayer is his delight because prayer shows the reaches of our poverty and the riches of his grace. Prayer is that wonderful transaction where the wealth of God's glory is magnified and the wants of our soul are satisfied. Therefore God delights in the prayers of the upright.

Do you know what prayer comes down to? Prayer is depending on God. Prayer is a declaration of our dependance. When you make every detail of your life a matter of prayer, you learn to depend on him for everything. And God is pleased when we depend on Him. Please remember, We have a God whose nature is such that what pleases him is our need of him.

5. Obedience

Once a husband and wife were discussing the possibility of taking a trip to the Holy Land. The husband said, "Wouldn't it be fantastic to go to the Holy Land and stand and shout the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai?" The wife said, "It would be better if we stayed home and kept them." God is pleased when we live in obedience to His Word.

And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 ESV

Yahweh delights far more in obedience than in the performance of worship ceremonies without it. God takes pleasure in our obedience because our disobedience is idolatry.

For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king." 1 Samuel 15:23 ESV

When God says one thing, and we then stubbornly choose to go our own way, we are idolaters. We have actually esteemed the direction of our own mind over God's direction and become guilty of idolatry. And worst of all, the idol is our own self.

God takes pleasure in us when our obedience shows that we put our treasure in Him and not in the enticements of sin. He delights in the humility of our submission that loves to make a name for God and not man.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20 ESV

Believer, do you understand this? Obedience pleases God and disobedience displeases Him. Speaking of Israel the Scriptures say.

Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 1 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 1 John 3:21-22 ESV

While we don't earn our salvation through obedience, the Bible makes it clear that when we disobey Him, we're not pleasing Him.

God delights in our obedience, because everything God commands us is for our own good. And so what God is really delighting in when he delights in our obedience is our deep and lasting joy.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. Deuteronomy 6:24 ESV
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13 ESV

God's commands are not arbitrary. They are meant to make us well and happy. Every command of Yeshua is meant for our good.

In July 1976, Israeli commandos raided a hijacked plane at the airport in Entebbe, Uganda. In less than 15 minutes all 7 of the kidnappers had been killed and the 103 Jewish hostages had been set free. However, 3 hostages were killed. Commandos came in and shouted, in Hebrew, "Get down! Crawl!" Most of them understood and obeyed, but some, for whatever reason, hesitated, and were shot by the men trying to free them.

Obedience is commanded for our own good. God's rules for our behavior are not things we must do to earn our salvation or rules to obey because of some arbitrary decision made by a vengeful Creator. They are there to protect us, to make our lives easier, and the sooner we stop thinking of God's rules as ruining our lives and see them as things that make our lives easier the better off we'll be.

Learning to walk or live to please Yahweh is a matter of biblical instruction. It is neither natural nor innate. Without the Word, there is simply no way any of us are going to be able to walk as we should so we are able to please the Lord. Over and over again in the Tanakh, we read that God's people are to walk in His ways, statutes, and laws, i.e., according to the Word (Lev. 26:3; Deut. 5:33; 8:6; 10:12; Josh. 22:5). So, if we are not in the Word, we are not being reminded of what we are to do. How many of you know what a tsiytsiyt is?

"Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. Numbers 15:38 ESV

The word "tassel" here is the Hebrew word tsiytsiyt. The word tsiytsiyt is a noun derived from the word tsiyts, which is the blossom of a tree which will become its fruit. The tsiytsiyt is a blossom, not in appearance but in function. Why were they to wear this tsiytsiyt?

And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. Numbers 15:39 ESV

The function of the tsiytsiyt is to be a reminder to the wearer to produce fruit. Fruit being the observance of the commandments. It was to remind them of the commandment of Yahweh so that they would walk in them.

The word Torah is usually translated as Law, but to the Hebrew it meant: "the journey." To a Hebrew "command" is the direction for the journey. "Righteous" is traveling on the path. And "wicked" is lost from the path. If we could grasp this Hebraic concept about Yahweh's Word, it would change our thinking and our walk.

We don't like commandments, they seem restrictive— "don't do this". But directions are helpful and beneficial—"go this way." If you want to get somewhere you must follow directions. If you are in Virginia Beach and you want to go to Florida, you have to follow the directions which would take you south. You cannot go east if you want to end up in Florida. The same is true with Yahweh's directions. If you want a life of fellowship with the Father, a life of joy and peace, you must follow the directions that Yahweh has given us. To not follow the directions and leave the path is to not arrive at your goal of joy and peace. Yahweh has laid out the direction for the path in His Word. So we need to read it, study it, and follow it.

and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3 ESV

The word "come" is the Hebrew word halak, which means: "to walk". The Christian life is a journey that we are to walk. And we can only do this as we follow the directions.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105 ESV

Yahweh's word guides us on our journey.

Adultery, fornication, abortion, homosexuality and lying are pervasive in our day among those who call themselves Christians. The Church has left the path of Yahweh and it is costing us all. C.S. Lewis was right when he said, "The best argument for Christianity is Christians—their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the best argument against Christianity is also Christians—when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug, when they are narrow and repressive. Then Christianity dies a thousand deaths."

When Christians walk in fellowship with Yahweh and begin to express their Christianity through their lifestyle, the society cannot help but be changed. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes: "Most competent historians are agreed in saying that what undoubtedly saved [England] from a revolution such as that experienced in France at the end of the eighteenth century was nothing but the Evangelical Revival. This was not because anything was done directly, but because masses of individuals had become Christians and were living this better life and had this higher outlook. The whole political situation was affected, and the great Acts of Parliament which were passed in the last century were mostly due to the fact that there were such large numbers of Christians found in the land."

Once we are saved, the direction of our lives should be to walk on the path of obedience to God in everything. There should be no division between the sacred and the secular for the Christian. When you're at work, you serve God there (Col. 3:23-24). When you're with family, you serve God there. The same applies to Church. Every Christian should be seeking to serve the Lord in every situation of life. The New Testament generally, and the apostles in particular, consistently urge those who have experienced God's gracious redemption to lead holy and godly lives.

It is God's will that those who belong to the new creation should be characterized by a lifestyle which ultimately reflects His own character and action.

What is it that pleases God? We have looked at five things: faith, worship, service, prayer and obedience. If you keep those five principles in mind and measure your life using them as a guideline, then you can be sure that you are living your life in such a way as to please God.

Continue the Series

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