Summary: This message is intended to show the seeker and the complacent christian that God wants a relationship rather than a religious zealot.
WHAT DOES GOD REALLY WANT?
1 Hear now what the LORD says: "Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, O you mountains, the LORD’S complaint, and you strong foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a complaint against His people, and He will contend with Israel.
3 "O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab counseled, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, that you may know the righteousness of the LORD."
6 With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
When we look at this passage of Scripture we are reminded that many do not profess that that they do not need God or His atonement on their life. The Holy Spirit does His work well. He convicts the heart of sin, righteousness, and judgment (john 16:8). In other words whether we are believers or lost we have a sense that we are not right with God when we are not pleasing him.
In our search to be right with God we may use many things to gain this rightness with the Father. A lost person may try to use works or sacrifice to feel some sort of peace with God. How many times do we hear when witnessing, "I am doing the best that I can!" Even for the believer, when we sense that God is not pleased with us, we may try works to be able to gain favor with God.
This is very dangerous because it always leads to one of two directions. We will either develope a false sense of peace, or a great sense of frustration. This leads to the great question of today. What does God really want!
28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Yet, what many of you have experienced has not been easy and has not provided rest for your soul. So, what does God really want? What is Jesus telling us to do hear? Where is this rest!
In today’s text we learn that rivers of oil and thousands of lambs is not really what God wants. God really wants us to walk with Him. What does that mean? Herein lies the key to pleasing God.
I. GOD WANTS US TO WALK IN HIS DIRECTION.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
A. Turn from sin and self; turn toward Christ.
1. This has been the message of Christ from the beginning.
2. A swurve vs. a U-turn.
a) Many have experienced a sharp turn without completely turning around. This is when you see sin in your life and become aware of the consequenses, ask for forgiveness, but fail to turn the heart toward Christ.
b) Repentance is a U-turn. We trun from one thing toward another. Have you experienced a curve or a turn?
B. God’s way is always the best way.
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
III. GOD WANTS US TO WALK AT HIS PACE.
A. Do not confuse God’s purpose with His pace.