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Pleasing The Lord…Always!

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 26, 2023 12:00 am

Pleasing The Lord…Always!

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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November 26, 2023 12:00 am

How can we know, and delight in, God’s will? Whatever our circumstances or degree of optimism, we can follow God’s commands by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this message from 1 Thessalonians, Pastor Lutzer shows the three commands. We'll not only know the will of God, but also please Him.

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Moody Church Hour
Erwin Lutzer

Thanksgiving had simple roots. 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, we'll 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 Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today, we'll hear the wonderful music of Thanksgiving, and then later in our broadcast, Erwin Lutzer will speak from 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 on Pleasing the Lord Always. The Moody Choir comes now to open today's service. O day we all love God, With hearts and hands and voices, Whom wondrous things have God, In whom his world rejoices. Look from our mother's eyes, And bless us on our way, In the blessed peace of God, That still is ours today. We're so glad that you are worshiping with us today, and if you would take your hymnal, please, and turn to 169.

169. Rejoice ye 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 hymn 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. But as 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. Would 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, sin sometimes overwhelms us, but there you stand with grace and pardon and help and the comfort of your Holy Spirit who has 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 bless America! We love God! Lord God, bless our King! Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, Rejoice in our friends and see!

We love you, angel of life, we know the saints are there, Lord of the saints, the joyous, for that in your past life. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God!

Sing with me! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God!

Sing with me! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God! Sing with me!

Still with most heaven high, still far, still heaven away, as for years to come, God rest on, the Lord of all in vain. Rejoice! Rejoice!

Rejoice in Christ and sing! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God!

Sing with me! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Rejoice in Christ and sing! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God!

Sing with me! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God! Sing with me!

Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God! Sing with me! And now, let the grace say, I am strong! Let the voice say, I am rich! Because of how the Lord has done for us! And now, let the grace say, I am strong!

Let the voice say, I am rich! Because of how the Lord has done for us! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God! Sing with me! Rejoice! Rejoice in Christ, our God!

Sing with me! Jesus Christ is Son! Give thanks, grateful, grateful Lord! Give thanks to the Holy One! Give thanks, give thanks to them!

Jesus Christ is Son! And now, let the grace say, I am strong! Let the voice say, I am rich! Because of how the Lord has done for us! And now, let the grace say, I am strong!

Let the voice say, I am rich! Because of how the Lord has done for us! Rejoice!

Rejoice! Let us read God's word together. Selections from Psalm 65 are in your bulletin.

Please join me on the bold print. Praise is due to you, O God in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come.

When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness. O God our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. You visit the earth and water it. You greatly enrich it.

The river of God is full of water. You provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.

You crown the year with your bounty. Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow. The hills gird themselves with joy. The meadows clothe themselves with flocks.

The valleys deck themselves with grain. They shout and sing together for joy. I will bow and be sinful, I will bow and be free. I will bow and be humble, yea, bow like a willow tree. I will bow and be sinful, I will bow and be single. I will bow and be free, I will bow and be free. I will bow until the tree.

I will blancous this age has come, I will bow till the inter hardened fight. I will bow and be broken able all upon the rock. I will bow and be simple, I will bow and be free! I will bow and be stable, I will bow and be free! I will bow and be taken, I will bow and be taken!

I will bow and be taken, I will bow and be taken! I will bow and be broken, gay or foul, upon the rock. I will bow, this is the token, I will wear the easy knock. I will bow and I'll be broken, gay or foul, upon the rock. I will bow and be simple, I will bow and be simple, I will bow and be free. I will bow, this is the token, I will wear the easy knock. I will bow, this is the token, I will wear the easy knock. I will bow and be broken, gay or foul, upon the rock. I will bow, this is the token, I will wear the easy knock. I will bow and I'll be broken, gay or foul, upon the rock. Emmanuel, God with us.

If he ever left us, we'd be done for. Amen? He is the message of salvation and our living word. We'd like to praise him this morning. It's the first time my whole family has joined me and we've been able to sing together.

This is fun. It is, except for two members. Our first son is going to be singing from heaven. He's with the Lord, he was stillborn. And our daughter Faith, that many of you know, but she has a cold this morning.

She was going to join us on the platform, but she's not feeling real well, so she's sitting over here with a friend. Either way, we'd like to lift up the Lord. Praise him this morning for his son Jesus. Bread of life. Down from glory.

Many things you were on earth. A holy king, a carpenter. You are the living, awesome ruler. Gentle redeemer. God with us, the living truth. And what a friend we have in you. You are the living, awesome ruler. Gentle redeemer.

God with us, yeah. The living truth and what a friend we have in you. You are the living, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

That's what we call you. Major born. Major born, but on a tree. You died to save humanity. You are the living, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. That's what we call you. Major born.

Major born, but on a tree. You died to save humanity. You are the living, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. That's what we call you. That's what we call you. Major born.

Major born, but on a tree. You died to save humanity. You are the living, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. That's what we call you. That's what we call you. Major born.

Major born, but on a tree. You died to save humanity. You are the living truth. You are the living truth.

You are the living truth, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. That's what we call you. That's what we call you. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. You are the living truth, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. That's what we call you.

That's what we call you. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Oh, oh, oh. Oh, you are the living Word. You are the living Word. Thank you to the Butler family. I need to say this, that very seldom do you see a Christian family with four sons, all of whom are walking with God, all of whom are involved at The Moody Church. And 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 has blessed us here on the pastoral staff. I don't know exactly how many years, but we're so glad that he's a part of the ministry and has blessed many of you and 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 in that continuum. Sometimes we're pleasant and sometimes we're unpleasant.

But today what we're going to talk about is moving from unpleasantness to pleasantness. What's the difference? Well, a pleasant person is somebody who can accept circumstances and can accept others and has a degree of optimism, but an unpleasant person is critical, self-absorbed. They can't see beyond their immediate opinions. Oftentimes they are angry. But 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 we? Because when God points out our sins and faults, we need to respond. Now, the purpose of this message actually is, first 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 and pleasing God. After all, you do want to please God.

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and if you were to take your Bibles and turn there for just a moment, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul says these words in chapter 4 verse 1. Finally then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that as you receive from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so and more. We learn how to please God. Well, by the time this sermon ends today, we'll 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 in us. And you today who are here, I hope that you will leave differently. I hope that I will because we've been in God's presence and in His Holy Word. Well, what I want to do today is to actually ask you to turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5.

If you're in 1 Thess 4, you're very close to the text today. 1 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 three of 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, well, that's Old Testament, but we are under grace today and we have no commands.

That is very false. In fact, there's a woman here at the church who's 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 as 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 ought and gives us the ability to obey commands. So 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. This should be a habit. This should be a lifestyle. This should be an attitude. And I believe that these three commands have to be obeyed together.

I don't think that you can take them 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. And now to the commands. Then what we're 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. 1 Thess chapter 5, verse 16, rejoice always.

It's a command. Now we find that startling because we say, well, how can God cause us to rejoice or expect it 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? Well, in the Bible, rejoicing and sorrow are compatible.

You need to understand that. The reason I mentioned 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 in it, 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. Now, are you saying that a woman like that can rejoice? Well, the answer is yes, in this sense that joy is not incompatible with sorrow. We're not talking about the escapism of the Eastern religions here where we pretend 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 he saw many countries and places that I will never see. And 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 hope that is implanted within us by God. That's why David said in Psalm 5, he says, you have put more joy into my heart than they have with wine and the grain that they harvest. God puts it within us.

It is a miracle of a 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.

Now 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 and all that 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 into temptation. Prayer should be a part of our lives. Now, how 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 to 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 bitterness in your life? And what about that deceit in your life? And what about that dishonesty in your life? And what about the secret sins that you are committing? And 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. Now, if you live that way, you'll be able to pray without ceasing. There are times when you are going to be in a difficulty and 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 a third 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 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 fourth, 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 she has my car, so I drove hers today. And 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 seat. And 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, oh, okay, so I'm supposed to thank God for this.

And I remembered 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. And I said, Lord, thank you that even though the coffee spilled, not all of it did.

I did have a half cup. And I said, Lord, even though it spilled on the car seat, thank you that it did not spill on me. Then I said, Lord, and I thank you it was only coffee, I thank you that it wasn't syrup. And then I said, sorry to laugh at the fourth, but, and thank you, Lord, that it happened in my wife's vehicle and not mine.

Well, wait till Rebecca hears about that. 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 in 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. One day I 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.

I mean, how can you go on living? That was her thing. And I remember promising her something. I said, if you live through one year, simply a day at a 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 is shining again. What does the Bible say? It says, rejoice all the time.

It says, pray all the time. Give thanks all the time. You say, should we give thanks for sin? No, no, it does not say give thanks, as I mentioned, for 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 the man with whom I played tennis for 20 years died just about a year and a half 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, he says, 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, heaven 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 earthbound. Wow.

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 found, 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 loved to travel.

They both had careers. And now in the midst of this, this child needed 24-7 care. And now this article was being written 13 years later, when they had their first vacation in 13 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.

Well here it is, here it is, in everything give thanks. Now 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, as I've emphasized, is to renovate our hearts. First of all, Paul assumes, and I'll say 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 supplies 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 within us because it isn't within us.

He has 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 a 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 our attitude, our attitude will follow obedience. Our 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? Well, 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 and you say to yourself, well, I'm going to do it whenever I feel like it.

Well, your house certainly looks like it, doesn't it? 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 it. Well, you'll never feel like it. The way in which you get better feelings about it is to simply just do it.

You just do it. And these commands are in Scripture for us to do, to give thanks, yes, to rejoice, to choose to rejoice in God, though 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 it. You know, there are times when we might not feel like 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 he always bubbly and effervescent? No, there were times of great sorrow because he recognized that we do not live by feelings. We live by faith and we live by the power of the Spirit. So these are commands. And the Apostle Paul is assuming that our attitude, the renovation of heart that we're talking about, promotes 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 preach in a seminary, and they would, of course, preach sermons, and that is part of the responsibility of professors who listen to young men who are going to be preaching someday. And this professor said this, that when he listens to a message, what he wants to know is how big is this man's God? And as he would listen to the sermon, he would think to himself, is he a big godder or a small godder?

And that's critical. You see, if you say to yourself, I have no way of believing that God can be glorified in this situation, what you're really saying is that I believe that I have no way of knowing how God can be glorified, but I also believe that God himself doesn't know how he's going to be glorified 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've discovered this personally. Giving thanks just changes everything. When you're in the midst of a situation that is very trying, the minute you begin to give thanks, what you are really saying to God is, God, I believe that you're bigger than this 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 floors, and all that he could do is look at earth? He never looked up to God to see that God was greater than all the things that sometimes drag us down.

In everything, give thanks. But 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 a hospital, and this was a military hospital, and all of the men were wounded and in various stages of recovery, and there was nothing but pessimism, gloom, and despair. But as he walked through, he noticed that on the table, there was a bowl that was upside down. And so he thought of something. He said to the men, 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.

Well, you know, there are people just like that bowl, living in darkness, in pessimism, in hopelessness, and they infect the attitude of everyone around them. Paul says in the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians, he says, you folks at Thessalonica, you turned 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, you turned from darkness to light. It says in Colossians that God transferred us from the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of darkness. Then he translates us in the kingdom of light. The bowl is 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'll please me more and more. Let's close in prayer. Our Father, forgive our thanklessness because we know it is sin. Your word says in Romans 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 ask 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 ask, 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 their everlasting possession. Help us, Father, because we are so needy. And now 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, hear the prayer of your people today. We ask that we will take these three commands and put them before us. May we write them out, put them on our 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.

And 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's stand to sing.

Let's sing. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer brought a thanksgiving message on pleasing the Lord always, taken from 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. It's because of the investment of many people that The Moody Church Hour is heard around the country. We'd like to ask you to consider becoming an endurance partner, someone who stands with us on a regular basis with your prayers and gifts. For full information, go to our website at moodyoffer.com and click on the endurance partner button. That's moodyoffer.com. Or call us at 1-800-215-5001.

That's 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-26 02:24:32 / 2023-11-26 02:43:05 / 19

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