What do the scriptures say, and do you believe it? I often ask people if they believe their Bible? That’s because when I ask a question, like are Christians pleasing to God, most are very quick to answer without actually knowing what their Bible says.
They immediately say yes, or they quote a verse that doesn’t answer the question. For example, some will say, “through Christ we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1), but can we have peace with God through Christ’s sacrifice, and still not please Him according to what is written in the Bible?
We figure that we are pleasing him in some way, but ask yourself this question. If our Bible says one thing and we say another, who is false? It is very easy to become a false teacher; just teach people what you think without checking. However, consider that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).
It is far better to say that we don’t know something rather than filling ourselves with human wisdom, and taking a guess. Worldly wisdom is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 3:19), and it is possible to be on fire for God (zealous), but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). Therefore, just because someone feels led to teach, it doesn’t mean that they are ready to teach or that they should be teaching.
If the Bible says one thing and the best preacher in the world says something different, has he allowed the Word of God to transform him into a new person? He may be the most talented speaker on the planet, and even know a lot of scripture, but if he speaks against what is written, he is leading people away from the faith. The Bible tells us to watch out! By their fruits we should recognize them (Matthew 7:15-20).
Abraham received the promise through the righteousness of faith and so it is with us (Romans 4:13). We have to submit to God’s way of righteousness (Romans 10:3), the righteousness that comes by faith, and it says that we should say certain things, speaking in line with the faith, and not say certain things in our heart (Romans 10:6-8). God’s idea of a “perfect man” is one who is never at fault in what he says (James 3:2). Check it before you speak against it in your heart. Therefore, never just take a guess, but if you do, say that you are not sure what the Bible says.
You might say, “I’m a work in progress.” Praise God, I am too, just don’t stop making progress. If the Bible says one thing, and we believe differently, it’s time for us to change (Hebrews 4:12). Christians can easily fall away simply by not accepting Jesus’ Words according to John 6:60-69. Therefore, it is possible to attend church today and not even follow Christ, and yet seem like we are on fire. Imagine that. Check the verses below.
2 John 9-11
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. NKJV
2 John 9-11
9 Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement. 11 For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings. AMP
If anyone comes to you and does not bring the doctrine of Christ, “do not welcome him,” or you will become a sharer in his evil work. The doctrine of Jesus says that after we obey Him, He will make His home on the inside of us (John 14:21-23). So how is it that we not only welcome, but place on pedestals those who claim that if we just say Jesus is Lord, then we are going to Heaven when we die? They say that we can never be cut off, which is against John 15:1-6.
They proclaim that we should obey parts of the Laws that were given through Moses, who said that when Jesus Christ came, we should obey Him or face being cut off (Acts 3:22-23, Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Therefore, even if we followed Moses to a “T,” we would now stop and follow Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24, 1 Timothy 1:8-11). We are justified by faith, apart from observing the Law (Romans 3:28).
Jesus commanded that we love one another (John 13:34-35), and we have an example of love written in 1 John 3:16-19, which involves sharing our goods with other disciples. They proclaim that we tithe in accordance with the Laws of Moses so that they can build big buildings, and feed a man-made machine that isn’t teaching anyone the doctrines of Jesus.
I want you to be aware of these things, since Jesus said that whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Him cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:27). The warning says that many will take the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). Only a few take the narrow road that leads to life, and I want everyone who hears my teachings to make it.
There is a way that seems right, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25). We have a natural tendency to believe one thing, but it ends up being the wrong path, so how are we supposed to know? We have to check (1 Thessalonians 5:21, Acts 17:11)! There is a reason why false teachers do not have open discussions with someone who is called by God to teach.
The correct path requires us to “deny ourselves” (Matthew, Luke 9:23). Think about that for a second and allow the passages below to tell you what to believe.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. NKJV
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. NKJV
Does that sound like something we would hear even if we attended a Bible-based Christian function on family matters today? No, not at all. That’s because most of us are willing to follow Jesus right up to the point of having to deny our own feelings, and beyond that point we ignore Him. Could it be that we don’t want Jesus to be the Lord over every part of our life, which shows that we are unwilling to lose our life for Him?
Jesus said that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it (Luke 18:17). Therefore, if Jesus said it, we ought to receive it, accept it, and believe it. Then we should proclaim our faith boldly without being ashamed of it. Don’t waste any time in unbelief, or even listening to those who are ashamed of parts of the Gospel because they can only encourage you to ignore it.
26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. NKJV
If we are not ashamed of the Word, then we shouldn’t have a problem speaking in line with it. Besides, by “not” speaking in line with the faith, we can make God ashamed to be called our God.
How can that happen? Jesus said that we have a new family; those who do the will of the Father (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35). Listen to what the Bible says below about the people of old who were faithful and spoke in line with the faith rather than speaking like the people of the world around them.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. NKJV
Now if God was embarrassed to be called our God, would we say that He is pleased with us? The righteousness that comes by faith involves things we should say, as well as things we should never say (Romans 10:6-8). The person who shrinks back from the faith cannot possibly be pleasing to God (Hebrews 10:36-39, below). Therefore, can we teach human wisdom in place of God’s Word and be pleasing to Him?
How important is righteousness? In order to bring eternal life “through Jesus Christ,” grace has to “reign through righteousness” (Romans 5:20-21). Check it! In other words, as long as we are righteous, grace will reign, but if we shrink back from living by faith, destruction of the soul awaits (Hebrews 10:36-39, below). How can we live by faith and continually reject the doctrine of Jesus?
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. NKJV
Notice who God is not pleased with in verse 38, above. Sometimes I am guilty of answering a question without explaining it. It doesn’t change the truth, but some people have to understand things before they will accept them. That’s dangerous when it comes to faith. If the Bible says it, accept and believe it, point, blank, period. Lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
By now you should know that we who have been justified (made righteous) in Christ (saved), have to continue to live by faith (Colossians 1:21-23). If we continue to live by faith, we will eventually speak in line with the faith (Romans 10:6-8, Colossians 3:10, Matthew 12:33-37). In order to speak in line with the faith, we have to accept, believe, and acknowledge what is written (2 Corinthians 4:13). That would take denying our own desires (denying ourselves, lose our life). In this way, “obedience (obeying Jesus) leads to righteousness (Romans 6:15-16, below).
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? NKJV
This in turn will make us slaves of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22), Who speaks and does exactly what God tells Him to do and say (John 12:49-50, 14:31). This in itself will set us free from sin because righteousness can control us just like sin has controlled us in this life (Romans 6:20, below). Therefore, becoming a slave to righteousness results in a holy life style (verse 19, below).
17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. NKJV
Obedience leads to righteousness, and righteousness to holiness (verse 19, above). This is the process for being set free from sin that all of us should know by now. These are the types of things that we should be learning every week, but we’re not since few are concerned about making disciples, which includes teaching saved people to obey Jesus. (Matthew 28:19-20).
Those who take the narrow path, narrow way, or narrow gate (depending on your version of the Bible) are careful to “present themselves as a slave to righteousness leading to holiness” (verse 19, above). That’s because only a slave to righteousness or a slave to God ends up with eternal life (verse 22, below). A slave to sin ends in death (verse 23, below).
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV
The Bible tells us that we have to walk in holiness in order to please God (1 Thessalonians 4:1-5), and we are instructed to live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way (Colossians 1:10). Therefore, having to live a certain way should not be a shock.
We’re not working for eternal life, but we are making disciples of Jesus (followers of Christ, Acts 11:26). In doing so, the end result is eternal life. Being saved is one thing, but Jesus gives eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). That requires continuing in our faith.
It’s still a gift because the faith needed to accomplish it, was “given” to us (Romans 12:3), and therefore, boasting is excluded (Romans 3:27). Look at it this way. We’re just asking saved people to continue in what they were given. It’s leaving the path that brings about the displeasure.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows righteousness. 10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die. NKJV
That one verse could change health care in this country. This is another reason why few long time Christians, who seek healing, are healed, and fewer than 20 % of the people at any healing service receive anything. It’s not just a matter of believing that we can be healed, although that is a big part of it. Die to sins and live for righteousness, by His stripes we are healed (1 Peter 2:24). Get it?
Some say that this would be like “earning grace,” but that’s the spirit of disobedience in them encouraging them to remain off the right path. The truth is that we have been given the ability to live a new life, but the choice is ours. Those who “live according to their flesh” cannot please God (Romans 8:8).
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. NKJV
Notice the difference between those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the Spirit. One keeps his mind set on the things above and the other on the things of his own desires (flesh). The carnal (worldly) minded person is hostile toward God (verse 7, above). Imagine being hostile toward God and yet praying, “Lord bless me,” “Lord bless me,” “Lord bless me.”
The one with his mind set on the things of the flesh is not willing to “deny himself” for whatever reason. He may not know the truth, he may have been tricked into believing false doctrines, the truth may have been taken from him, but it can be summed up as, “God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6); because we don’t know something. So, is it OK to continue in sin?
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. NKJV
All Christians who have been baptized into Christ have been given the ability to live a new life (a holy life), but we still have to choose to live that way. It’s certainly much easier to remain in the flesh, especially when the church is filled with people who make it ok to do so, with excuses and sayings that are against the faith.
They say things like, “You can’t earn grace.” That’s true. “Jesus did it all,” and that may be true depending on what “it” means. If we didn’t have anything to do then everyone would make it, since Christ died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). We must choose to be a slave to righteousness over remaining a slave to sin (Romans 6:15-22, above). Read the following verses and ask yourself if we have anything to do in order to “reap eternal life?”
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. NKJV
If I was the guest preacher at your church next week and I mentioned that you needed to sow to please the Spirit in order to reap eternal life, would I hear even one amen? We can be so filled with a man’s doctrine that we do not even recognize the truth.
Just like the Pharisees, they don’t realize what they reject. Because they say, “we can see,” and yet they cannot see, they have become blind (John 9:39-41). Just as the prophets of old were rejected, so it is today (Luke 6:26, John 15:20, Matthew 5:10-12).
Some say that we are already as pleasing to God as we can be, since He sent His son to die for us. God is for us, who can be against us? Sounds good doesn’t it, but when we know that the Bible says that we should make it our goal (aim) to be well pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:9), then we can recognize the false doctrines mixed in with the truth.
Who can accept Colossians 1:10, which says to “walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing Him in every way” and still speak directly against it? That’s like saying “I have visited every state in the United States, and I testify before you today that Wyoming is not there.” The funniest part is that the people say “amen” without even questioning if he made a wrong turn somewhere.
The Apostle Paul said that he was “trying to please God” (1 Thessalonians 2:4), and that we should want to please Him (2 Timothy 2:4). If we didn’t need to please God, why would it be written that without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6)?
Jesus always did what pleased God (John 8:29). So by default, if we follow Jesus, wouldn’t we please God?
What if I preached that only those who do the things that please God can ask Him for anything? Would you get up and walk out?
1 John 3:21-23
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. NKJV
Who can ask for “anything” according to that verse? Those who keep His commandments and “do the things that please Him.” Notice that we are not talking about the Ten Commandments which came through Moses here. So, if you had already walked out, you would have gone too soon.
Imagine this. If I could get you to believe that you don’t have to do anything to please God, I would knock you out of being able to ask God for anything, since only those who keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight are positioned to ask and receive it. So with one man-made lie, millions here in the Bible belt cannot use that promise.
Quickly, sit down and make a list of the things that please God! Go ahead and write them all down because there is a family at church that really needs spiritual help and you need to reach out in faith to help them, assuming they will listen to you. Go ahead and make a list.
Now, back to reality. Our list is short because we don’t know. I’m not getting on to you, but I’m telling you that the alarm is sounding. Faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17), and continuing in your faith is more important than eating. Schedule some time everyday to read or listen to five chapters (minimum) from the New Testament. Read it out loud; faith comes by hearing the Word.
What pleases God? Praise Him continually (Hebrews 13:15); Doing good and sharing what you have with people in need, especially those who live by faith (Hebrews 13:16, 1 John 3:16-19, Philippians 4:14-19, Galatians 6:7-10); Live a holy life which requires us to avoid any kind of sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8); Children obey your parents (Colossians 3:20).
Offer your body as a living sacrifice, by “not” living like the world around you and renewing your mind to the point of being transformed (Romans 12:1-2); Repent of sin (Luke 15:7, 10, 32); Don’t cause your Christian brother to stumble because of what you approve (Romans 14:13-18); Live by faith (Hebrews 11:6); Don’t get caught up in worldly matters (2 Timothy 2:4); Pray for all people, and especially for those in office (1 Timothy 2:1-4); Walk according to the Spirit (Romans 8:5-8).
Do those things and please God, or you can fill yourself with the world’s ways of doing things, but the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 3:19). What the world highly values among men is detestable in God’s sight (Luke 16:15). Imagine that. What is considered to be of great value to people of this world is an abomination to God. If we followed Jesus there would be major differences between our way of living and how the world lives.