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Pleasing The Lord... Always

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 29, 2020 1:00 am

Pleasing The Lord... Always

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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November 29, 2020 1:00 am

How can we please God? How can we know His will? At the end of 1 Thessalonians, Paul gives his readers commands to follow—commands we should all follow, including being thankful no matter what. By obeying these commands, we will not only know the will of God, we will also please Him… always!

 Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)

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Thanksgiving had simple routes early settlers to North America were just glad they had something to eat today, despite economic troubles, most of us have far more than the richest pilgrim back in the 1600s on this program will hear a message on three commands all believers must obey commands that include being thankful no matter what. Stay with us from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today will hear the wonderful music of Thanksgiving and then later in our broadcast Erwin lutes will speak from first Thessalonians chapter 5 on pleasing the Lord always, the Moody choir comes now to open today's service and were so glad that you are worshiping with us today and if you would take your hymnal please and turn to 169, 169, 169 rejoice see pure in heart, and then we shall sing the chorus.

Give thanks Scripture reading today is by the director, our director of children's ministries Abby Noss today. The choir will also bless us with a him that comes to us from the shakers.

It has to do with humility and brokenness before God.

I will bow and be broken. Yea, I will fall upon the rock ledge you've known already.

Our theme today is Thanksgiving and how many blessings we have in everything give thanks. The text says because this is the will of God in Christ concerning you when you join me please. As we pray together before we stand to sing 169. Our father today. We do thank you and we thank you for your grace that is given to us in Jesus our Lord. And thank you that we can always give praise to you. Circumstances are difficult hearts are broken sins sometimes overwhelms us. But there you stand with grace and pardon and help in the comfort of your Holy Spirit, who is been given to your people and we do want to pray for those today who think that they have nothing for which to thank you, particularly those who've never come to the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Today we pray that you will cause them to believe so that we might trust you and love you and give you thanks at all times. In Jesus name, amen. God's word together selections from Psalms 65 are in your bulletin. Please join me in the bold print praise is due to you know God in Zion and two years shall not be performed. Oh you who hear prayer to use flash scum when iniquities prevail against me.

You atone for our transgressions by Cindy you answer right guy. I and I said that the Iranian you make that going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy you think of the earth and water you greatly enrich the river of God is full of water. You provide the grain for so you have prepared you water it's for us abundantly, settling its riches showers and blasting its graph you crown the year with your bouncy your wagon tracks overflow with abundant in the wilderness of showing them in a young leftist would be done for use. The message of salvation living word like crazy this morning. First time families together is that is except for two members. Our first son is singing from heavens with the Lord.

He was, and I don't think many of you know which he has called this morning to join us on the platform, but she's not feeling so she sitting over here with a friend, but either way we like to lift up the Lord praise and this was a he said down all the you know the God is he that made a and the youth and he and I and and and and a and and will and you are the living word.

Thank you to the Butler family. I need to say this, that very seldom you see a Christian family with four sons, all of whom are walking with God, all of whom are involved in church within God's providence both Donna and Charles have great gifts in the realm of music which obviously they passed on to their family.

So thank you very very much Charles is blessed us here in the pastoral staff. I don't know exactly how many years, but were so glad that he's a part of the ministry and that has blessed many of you, Donna, and others.

So thank you to the Butler family today.

God bless you and let's hear from you again sometime all right. You know, there are many different ways that we can categorize people one way that we can do it is to talk about pleasant people and unpleasant people.

Now of course most of us find ourselves somewhere midway on that continuum. Sometimes were pleasant and sometimes were unpleasant today.

What were going to talk about is moving from unpleasantness to pleasantness. What's the difference well and I pleasant person is somebody who can accept circumstances and can accept others and that has a degree of optimism but an unpleasant person is critical self absorbed.

They can't see beyond their immediate opinions.

Often times they are angry.

The problem is they see themselves as absolutely right in their perspective and they honestly believe that if people saw reality the way in which they did that everybody would agree that they are right and so oftentimes they are immune to change. That's why we have to trust the Holy Spirit don't wait because when God points out our sins and calls we need to respond now. The purpose of this message. Actually is of all how to live life differently.

I've talked about moving from being a unpleasant person to a pleasant one.

But also it has to do with doing the will of God in pleasing God.

After all, you do want to please God.

The Bible says in first Thessalonians chapter 4 and if you were to take your Bibles and turn there for just a moment. First Thessalonians chapter 4, the apostle Paul says these words in chapter 4 verse one finally been brothers we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that as you receive Thomas, how you want to live and to please God, just as you are doing that you do so, and more we learn how to please God. By the time this sermon ends today will have learned how we can please God and how we can do his will and in the process. There's going to be a heart renovation that God is going to take place and send you today who are here. I hope that you will leave differently. I hope that I will because we been in God's presence, and in his holy word. What I want to do today is to actually ask you to turn to first Thessalonians chapter 5. If you're in first class for your very close to the text today.

First Thessalonians chapter 5 and I'm going to give you three commands that are given here in these verses. There are many commands but I'm simply referring to free up them now. It's very important to realize, first of all, that these are commands you know, oftentimes, it is said that we live under grace and therefore we don't have commands.

The minute we tell people that there are commands in the New Testament they say will that's Old Testament but we are under grace today and we have no command that is very false. In fact, there's a woman here at the church was written a manuscript on all of the commands in the New Testament, and I believe that she's come up with hundreds of them love one another. Forgive each other and on and on it goes commands that we are to obey us Christians you see grace does not mean that we are not under commands. Grace means that God grants us the ability to do as we talked and gives us the ability to obey a man said today you're receiving some commands not from me, but from God. Also, each of these commands is in the present tense.

What that means is, God says you should continuously be doing these things, there should be a habit they should be a lifestyle they should be an attitude and I believe that these three commands have to be obeyed together.

I don't think that you can take him and say well I'm going to do one but I'm not going to do the other because if you do one. It shows that you are doing. The other now to the commands, then what were going to do is to give you some assumptions that the apostle Paul is using in this context and finally God is going to change us as we look into his word.

Are you ready for the commands. First of all, you'll notice it says always rejoice. This is the way we please God. Now we can please him always first class chapter 5 verse 16 rejoice always. It's a command. Now we find that startling because we say will. How can God cause us to rejoice or expected from us because for many of us joy is so closely tied to circumstances, we rejoice in promotions. We rejoice in unexpected windfall of money. We rejoice in good health but how can we rejoice when we have none of those will in the Bible, rejoicing and sorrow are compatible. You need to understand that the reason I mention that is.

This past week I heard a story that grips our hearts in Europe, there is a Christian couple, a woman whose husband was in the military and he in Italy drove four hours recently to celebrate her birthday with her.

It was a surprise that he was there on Sunday and she wrote on her blog.

All of the things that happened and how much she loved him and how special he was to her and then she said I miss him so badly, but I will have to go to my happy place to endure the loneliness that Thursday he was killed in a helicopter accident and I wish that I had her blog here. I do not have it. Someday I'm going to download it.

I was supposed to be able to but it wasn't working you know about those computers and that unit though I was told she said this. Now that my husband is dead.

There will never be another happy place, and in it she spills out her soul, with all of her loneliness. All of her unanswered questions. All of her grief.

Are you saying that a woman like that can rejoice. While the answer is yes. In this sense that joy is not incompatible with sorrow were not talking about the escapism of the Eastern religions here were we pretended that sorrow doesn't exist. No.

But Jesus says that your sorrow shall be turned into joy and in the Bible.

In the midst of darkness and emptiness. There is at least joy in some of God's promises and there is hope.

The young man's father at the memorial service said my son traveled to many different parts of the world and that he saw many countries and places that I will never see. Now he's in a place that I have never seen heaven, but this is the place where I go to him and soon I shall be there with him in the midst of all of that grief. There can also be a sense of hope and a sense of joy, because real joy ultimately is rooted in God. That's why it says in the book of Philippians rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. There is a whole that is implanted with in us by God.

That's why David said in Psalm five he says you have put more joy into my heart than they have with wine and the grain that they harvest God puts it with in us. It is a miracle of the supernatural work of God.

Joy, sometimes in the Bible, however, is also connected to people and circumstances, not circumstances. The way in which we think of it, but it is connected with people. For example, it says rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. In other words, we can take joy in the good things that happen to other people. In Romans chapter 16 the apostle Paul says as a result of your obedience. He says to the folks at Rome.

I rejoice so we can rejoice in others, but ultimately our joy is in God. So the command from Scripture is rejoice at all times and our sorrows are turned into joy and you can't keep that command unless you go on to the second command and the second command is in verse 17 pray always pray always. Now this doesn't mean that all that we should do is pray. We should shut everything down in the old we should do is to spend our time in prayer. What it does mean is we don't do anything without praying about it.

Jesus said men ought always to pray and not to faint. And he said to the disciples watch and pray that you enter not prayer should be a part of our lives. Now can we pray without ceasing, though. Well, it means that it should be a reoccurring part of our lives and we can even pray unconsciously. The apostle Paul here is talking about a soul that is continuously open to God day by day, we begin the day by giving ourselves to God by committing ourselves to him and then we open our lives to him all day long we stay connected with God. What this really means is first of all, we have a sense of dependence.

We recognize that we can't get through this day without him.

So we begin the day with God, we begin the day yielding ourselves to him and inviting his blessed Holy Spirit of God to help us because we know we can't do without him and then something else and that is that we live in complete agreement with God about everything.

Now let me speak you very candidly.

Why is it so difficult oftentimes for us to pray without ceasing, because we know that if we were completely dead honest before God. There are things that are out of agreement. Our lives are not in agreement with God, which is what the word confess means confession means that I agree with God. If our souls were open to him immediately.

God begins to say all right. It's fine for you to be open to me and to pray but look at this.

Is there a person here. You've not forgiven. What about that eagerness in your life and what about that deceit in your life and what about that dishonesty in your life and what about to the secret sins that you are committing in all of these things you see are matters with which we must agree with God, we must say to God, I agree that it is sin. I agree that you have the right to take it out of my life forever.

And I agree that I'm going to do all that I possibly can to make sure that you give me a sense of deliverance and freedom because I agree with God not you live that way you'll be able to pray without ceasing. There times when you are going to be in a difficulty in even without the difficulty all day long. You're simply saying father this is your situation. Lord I don't have the wisdom to know what I'm supposed to do here Lord. This is beyond me, but I keep committing it to you because I pray without ceasing, and parents have had the experience of having a child or a grandchild on their hearts continually lifting that child to God, praying without ceasing.

It should become a part of our attitude. It is part of the renovation of the soul.

Now there is also 1/3 command and that is in verse 18. Always give thanks. Give thanks. It says in all circumstances.

That doesn't mean that we give thanks for all circumstances necessarily.

It does mean that we give thanks in the midst of those circumstances, we can always find something for which to praise God. I've used this illustration before but it's wonderful.

Matthew Henry, who was a Bible commentator who lived in a previous age was robbed in one evening as he was going home that night he wrote in his diary, his gratitude to God for four things. First, I was never robbed before. He was thankful for that.

Secondly, although they took my wallet. They did not take my life. Third, because although they took my all. They took my all. It was not very much and forth. I'm so grateful that I was robbed and I was not the one doing the robbing. That's to be greatly received by God this morning God gave me an illustration of how I could apply what Matthew Henry had to say.

My wife is still with the grandchildren in Missouri and that she has my car so I drove hers today and that getting up.

I didn't have any breakfast. I thought I'd stop by McDonald's and pick up a cup of coffee and some orange juice and an Egg McMuffin without cheese and I did that and I took one of those cardboard trays that they gave me and I put it next to me in the Seton.

I didn't realize when I arrived here at the church that the coffee had spilled over and the cardboard tray was soggy and there was coffee all over the seat and I thought okay so I'm supposed to thank God for this and I I remembered that Matthew Henry, because I knew I was going to use this illustration I said Lord what can I thank you for and I began to thank him. I said, Lord, thank you that even though the coffee spilled. Not all of it did. I did have 1/2 cup and I said, Lord, even though it spilled on the car seat. Thank you that it did not spill on me and I said, Lord, and I think it was only coffee I thank you that it was in syrup and then I said sorry the laugh at the fourth, but I thank you Lord that it happened in my wife's vehicle and not well wait till Rebecca hears about now the question is this how can we give thanks in every circumstance.

How can we give thanks. As I mentioned, we don't give thanks for evil. The woman who lost her husband and that helicopter crash.

She doesn't say Lord, thank you that my husband was killed.

No. But what she says is thank you father for your grace in the midst of this. Thank you father for your grace, that is going to sustain me. Thank you father that even though I do not experience any comfort at this moment. I thank you that that comfort will come when dad was counseling a widow whose husband died suddenly they were very greatly in love and she was contemplating suicide. A Christian woman because she simply could not imagine going on without her husband and so she wanted some assurance that if she committed suicide. She'd go to heaven on you. How can you go on living. That was her thing and I remember promising her something I said if you live through one year is simply a data time, you have only one responsibility each day as you wake up in the morning and that is to get to the end of that day and after you get to the end of that day you get to the end of the next day on and on for one year and then oftentimes the second year is also very difficult if you do that for two years. I said I have a promise for you. The sun will shine again hope will come back to you. The joy of the Lord will be your strength. Many years later I saw her and asked her. I said, has the sun come back and she said oh yes, the sun shining again. What does the Bible say it says rejoice all the time says pray all the time. Thanks all the time you say should we give thanks for send no, no, it does not say give thanks. As I mentioned before every circumstance in every circumstance we don't give thanks for sin, but we do give thanks for God's grace in the midst of sin.

We thank him for his love and for his mercy toward us, so that in everything we give thanks. Many of you know that to the man with whom I played tennis for 20 years, died just about a year and 1/2 ago I visited Mark a number of different times before he died as often as I was actually able to at least once a week I believe. And one day I said to him I said have you ever given thanks to God for your cancer.

I didn't know how he would answer that but he said many times many times this is I thank him every day for cancer because he says the glory of heaven that I have already experienced here on earth. He said to me happened was just a concept, and he said now I look at it so differently. It's a real place a real reality and the nearness that I have, to God I never experienced that before because he said we are so earth bound while give thanks in everything. I remember reading an article that my wife gave me. I wish I had kept it.

I'm not sure if it can be a round about a couple that had a special needs child and they said that when this child was born their entire lives were just thrown topsy-turvy and everything was up for grabs, because they love to travel. They both had careers and now in the midst of this. This child needed 24 seven care and now this article was being written 13 years later when they had their first vacation in third teen years and they said that this burden that we thought God was giving us was this incredible blessing. We thank God over and over and over again for this special needs child in everything give thanks, for this is God's will.

The text says in Christ concerning you. Sometimes the will of God is thought of as something so elusive. We can't ever find it will. Here it is.

Here it is in everything give thanks know what I'd like to do is to give you some assumptions that the apostle Paul is making. What are the assumptions that lie behind these commands let me give them to you because what God wants to do is I've emphasized is to renovate our hearts. First of all, Paul assumes I'll save them slowly if you want to write them down, but there are four of them, so keep room for them. First of all, Paul assumes that God supplies what he demands.

Paul assumes that God this supply is what he demands he demands and requests and commands us to rejoice in all things.

If that is to happen.

He has to supply the joy because it doesn't come naturally. That's why the Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, and the second fruit is joy. Joy is one of the indisputable marks of the spirit. But God has to put it with in us, because it isn't within us.

Yes, to put it there and if he wants us to pray, he has to give us the grace and the strength to be able to do that and if God desires that we give thanks what he needs to do is to give us the ability to see him from a larger perspective so that we can do that Paul is assuming here is supernatural relationship with God with power and help from the outside. So that's the first assumption that the apostle Paul is making the second assumption is that Paul assumes that are attitude are attitude will follow. Obedience are attitude will follow.

Obedience. You see, because we live in America we are so feeling oriented, we think to ourselves, well, you know, why should I give thanks because I don't feel thankful or the answer is it is a command so you do it, whether you feel like it or not those of you who do housework and dislike, housework, whether male or female. You know what it is like don't you how you dislike it. You say to yourself, well, I'm going to do it whenever I feel like it by your house certainly looks like it doesn't. And so what you do is sit on the couch and munch chocolates watching TV, hoping that the day will come when you'll feel like you never feel like when would you get better feelings about it, is to simply just do it. You just do it in these commands are in Scripture for us to do to give thanks. Yes, to rejoice, to choose to rejoice in God and that we do not understand, and even in sorrow.

As I mentioned, but we choose to do it and we don't wait around until we feel like doing at other times when the we might not feel like to very much at all. You think of the life of Jesus, who was in great sorrow in Gethsemane was Jesus always filled with the spirit, yes, was the always bubbly and effervescent know there were times of great sorrow because he recognize that we do not live by feelings, we live by faith, and we live by the power of the spirit. So these are commands in the apostle Paul is assuming that are attitude the renovation of heart that were talking about follows the choice of obedience to give thanks in all things third, Paul assumes that God is sovereign. Paul assumes that God is sovereign.

This is critical to these commands. There was a famous theologian who would listen to young men preaching a seminary and that they would of course preach sermons and that this part of the responsibility of professors to listen to young men were going to be preaching someday and this professor said this when he listens to a message, what he wants to know is how big is this man's God as he would listen to the sermon he would think to himself as he and big daughter or small daughter that's critical. You see, if you say to yourself I have no way of believing that God can be glorified in the situation. What you're really saying is that I believe that I have no way of knowing how God can be glorified but also believe that God himself doesn't know how he's going to horrified in this and therefore I cannot give thanks. How can you expect me to give thanks for something that on the surface at least, can never possibly glorify God. How can I thank him in the midst of those circumstances, but if you have a big view of God, you can say God I don't understand this makes no sense. I don't see how you're going to be glorified through this.

I don't see how my pain is going to contribute to some hidden purpose, but I believe that that is possible.

So even though I don't give thanks for sin or for sorrow per se. I thank you for the way in which you will use it and therefore Lord I do give you thanks in every situation because I'm going to be a thankful person in everything give thanks.

I discovered this personally giving thanks just changes everything. When you're in the midst of the situation that is very trying the minute you begin to give thanks. What you are really saying to God's got a believe that you're bigger than the situation. I believe that you are bigger than what is happening. I believe that this is something that you can use. I believe therefore that in and through this. Your purposes are going to be accomplished.

Thank you so very, very, much and it immediately begins to lift your spirit and your attitude then begins to change.

As I mentioned earlier. So Paul is assuming here that his believers in Thessalonica believe in a big God. Finally, Paul obviously is assuming here continual openness to God. As I stressed earlier if our lives are not open to God. If we find ourselves close to him. We will never be a thankful people and we will be the kind of people I described earlier. The unpleasant ones critical, angry, unable to see God in the midst of circumstances, unable to see God in the midst of human failure whether our own or that of someone else and all the time just looking at this earth, and never taking the time of looking up. Is it not true in Pilgrim's progress that there was a man like that who was sweeping the floors and all that he could do is look at earth never looked up to God to see that God was greater than all the things that sometimes drag us down in everything give thanks, Paul is assuming a heart change. A new heart. God says I will give you in World War I there was a chaplain who was walking through the hospital and this was a military hospital in all of the men were wounded in various stages of recovery, and there was nothing but pessimism, gloom and despair as he walked through he noticed that on the table.

There was a bowl that was upside down so he thought of something he said to the man. He said what's in that bowl and they all agreed nothing but darkness and uselessness. Then he took the bowl and he turned it right side up and he said what is in the bowl now, but light and hope because now this bowl can be used for porridge or soup or something helpful. Now the bowl can bless others when other people just like that bowl living in darkness in pessimism in hopelessness and and they in fact the attitude of everyone around them.

Paul says in the first chapter of first Thessalonians, he says you folks at Thessalonica.

You turn from darkness to light from idols to God. And Paul is assuming that transformation when he gives these commands so I have to ask you today, have you turn from darkness to light, says in Colossians that God transferred us from the kingdom of darkness.

The kingdom of darkness than he translates us in the kingdom of light.

The bowl was turned over and it becomes a receptacle of hope and help and healing. God wants to change us. There's no doubt about it.

And part of that change happens when we are willing to obey these commands because God says this is what I expect you to do and you will please me more and more. Let's close in prayer our father, forgive our thank listen this because we know it is sin. Your word says in Romans chapter 1 that part of the fall of humanity was that they were not thankful that played a great part in the fall of man into deeper sin, we asked that you will help us to see beyond the circumstances that we will see you at work even in times of distress and need. And even those who sorrow we asked father that you will give them hope and the knowledge that the day will come when their sorrow is turned into joy and joy is there everlasting possession help us father because we are so needy and L before I close this prayer. What is it that you have to say to God today you talk to God because he's listening father. Here the prayer of your people today, we asked that we will take these three commands and put them before us maybe write them out, put them on her desk on the refrigerator so that we might know this is our obligation every single day and we shall do your will, and we shall bring you pleasure for those who have never trusted Christ as Savior help them. Father may that bowl be turned the other way to give light and to give help.

We pray in Jesus name, amen, amen. As we conclude today, let's turn to 222 Lord, we praise you. What a beautiful song to end today. 222 Lord, we praise you. Let stand to say on today's Moody Church.

Our Dr. Erwin Lutzer for Thanksgiving message on pleasing the Lord always taken from first Thessalonians chapter 5 the music of Christmas lifts our hearts above the chaos all around us.

It reminds us that Jesus came to bring us home. The Moody Church choir and orchestra want to share Christmas with you through their CD in all of his glory.

It will be sent as our thank you for your gift of any amount to support The Moody Church.

Our call 1-800-215-5001.

That's 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to that's join us next week for another Moody Church.

Our with Dr. Erwin Lutzer and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago

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