Hebrews Lesson 58: Living to Please God :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 13: 18-25

18 “Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. 24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.”

Many of us have a hard time with having a purpose in our lives. We live in a sense of ambiguity, and we are unable to settle on a life goal and purpose. However, our Lord God has a way of distilling things down to their simplest forms and making it so that we have no excuses as to why we do not obey Him.  Over the almost 40 years that I have been in ministry, one of the things that I have tried to learn myself and to help others to learn is that God does not ask us to do things that cannot be done. The Christian life is a practical life that can be lived in obedience to the Lord, and in this passage, the apostle Paul gives us some insights as to how to live to please the Lord.

  • Remember what Jesus did for you, verse 20

This may sound too simple to be true, but it is that simple. Each and every day, our motivation to live pleasing to God is that we recall how we were saved. We were not saved by our own power, by our own accomplishments, by our own ability, and certainly not by our own righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We were lost, damned to Hell, the flames licking at our feet, and then Jesus joyfully came and redeemed us. He paid my price for my sin; He and He alone satisfied the righteous judgment of God, and I am now a child of God according to 1 John 3:1. This should motivate us to live to please God.

Not only did He redeem us, but it is an ‘everlasting’ redemption; no one can take it from us. We are preserved and protected by God. Jesus is our High Priest who never stops pleading on our behalf in Heaven, our Advocate and our best friend. Take the time each day to remember what Jesus did. Read about the payment that is made and begin every day in awe that you are a child of God and no longer under His wrath because of Jesus and what He did and is doing for us. As a thankful people, we should, out of rabid gratitude, live to please God in any and all ways that we can. When we fail, when we sin, and we will, we have forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9) promised to us from God.

  • Complete to do His will, verse 21

God makes us able to do His work and His will. We are not able to please God in and of ourselves, even when we are saved. We still need His help every second of the day, and this is why He sent us the Holy Spirit to live in us and to empower our churches. This is so we have the leadership and the power to obey Him. He has left us without excuse. This is not about legalism and following rituals. Ours is a relationship that is as individual as any other relationship. God will lead you in ways that He will not lead another. There are fundamental things like being baptized, being a faithful member of a local church, and making a deliberate regiment of Bible study and prayer (we explored this last week).

But being religious is not a part of the walk we have with Jesus. Ours is a walk of relationship where we trust in the goodness of God and not in our accomplishments. We trust that God always has our best at heart even when it hurts and when we don’t understand, and we trust that God is our Friend and One in whom we can trust our darkest and deepest fears; God is good.

In Jesus, and only in Jesus, we have the power to ‘do His will’ and to live ‘pleasing in His sight.’ What will our life look like if we are to live pleasing to the Lord and in His will? The prophet Micah laid this out for us hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Micah 6:8 “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? (NKJV)

These things seem too easy to read, but they are lifestyles based on desiring to please God. They are lifestyles that we can only have if Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is moving us to live. The whole complaint of God in Micah 6:1-7 was that the people were ‘serving’ God ritually but did not truly form a loving devotion to Him. They were going through religious motions and not living out in relationships. Notice that living to please God has a lot to do with how we treat others: live justly, walk humbly, and love mercy. This is all about others and how we treat them.

If we remember each day, recall as often as possible what it took to redeem us and save us, we will walk humbly, we will love to extend to others the mercy that we receive from the Lord each day, and we will live with personal integrity and live justly. These things please God, these things are His will, and these things show a true gratitude for the salvation that was so expensive to God but that is freely offered to us. May we never forget how great a salvation we have in Jesus.

1 Peter 1:18-21 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:18-21 NIV).

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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