Summary: Although it is true that God wants to bring His children joy, it is surprisingly true that we can bring God joy too! (these sermons parallel Rick Warren’s "Purpose Driven Life" chapters, in this case, ch.8-14; but they are not a repeat, rather same theme
Bringing Joy to God
1. Just how personal and emotional is God?
2. The answer: Very!
3. G. Walter Hansenin, Christianity Today wrote, “I am spellbound by the intensity of Jesus’ emotions: Not a twinge of pity, but heartbroken compassion; not a passing irritation, but terrifying anger; not a silent tear, but groans of anguish; not a weak smile, but ecstatic celebration. Jesus’ emotions are like a mountain river cascading with clear water. My emotions are more like a muddy foam or a feeble trickle.”
4. The Bible is filled with references to God’s emotions: His love and compassion, His jealousy, His wrath, His rejoicing.
Main Idea: Although it is true that God wants to bring His children joy, it is surprisingly true that we can bring God joy too!
I. Those IN CHRIST Can Please God Best
1. The Natural Person is DISADVANTAGED
• Romans 8:5-9, “ For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
• Because we are saved by grace through faith, we have no desire to bribe or manipulate God; He is already predisposed to us. We can therefore please Him freely without self-interest:
Going to the front desk of New York’s exclusive Pierre Hotel, Mr. Mendelbaum requested some stationery.
The clerk asked, "Are you a guest at the hotel?"
Mr. Mendelbaum snapped indignantly, "No, I am not a guest. I am paying $300 a day!" (source: www.haruth.com)
• In the case of God, we are His guests; there is no charge; we are freely forgiven, so we can freely please Him
• People trying to earn heaven never have this freedom from agenda we have
2. FAITH is a prerequisite
• Hebrews 11:5-6 “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
• Why is faith so crucial? Because it reflects our attitude toward God. Is God’s integrity something we value to the point that we trust His Word? Or is He fickle and undependable?
If someone does not believe me, it could be because they think I am a liar or I am wrong. But, since God makes no mistakes, if we do not believe God we make Him out to be a liar; there are no other other options. So faith affirms God’s character, disbelief insults His integrity.
Hence, if we want to be right with God, we must believe.
Although it is true that God wants to bring His children joy, it is surprisingly true that we can bring God joy too!
II. God Does Take Pleasure in US
1. His LEADERS
• Of King David, we read in I Chronicles 28:4, “Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.”
2. ALL of His people
• Psalm 149:4 reads “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”
• We praise Him because He likes us:
Psalm 100, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
• Too many parents have used religion to scold and shame their children!
Rick Warren writes: “You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you….Every human activity, except sin, can be done for God’s pleasure…”