Kevin DeYoung – Yes, You Can Please Your Heavenly Father

Sometimes Christians can give the impression that pleasing God is a sub-biblical motivation.

“We’re totally justified,” someone might say. “We’re totally accepted. If we tell our kids to please God, we are just giving them more law. We are training them to be little moralists. We’re discipling them to think of God as a kind of Santa Claus keeping a naughty-and-nice list.”

Obviously (or maybe not so obviously), that’s not how God wants us to parent, because that’s not what God is like with his children. But don’t let the potential abuse of this “pleasing God” language lead you to suppress what Scripture clearly says. One of the principal motivations for holiness is the pleasure of God.

  • Colossians 1:10: Those who bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God are pleasing to God.
  • Romans 12:1: Presenting your body as a living sacrifice pleases God.
  • Romans 14:18: Looking out for your weaker brother pleases God.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4: Teaching the word in truth pleases God.
  • 1 Timothy 2:1–3: Praying for your governing authorities pleases God.
  • 1 Timothy 5:4: Supporting family members in need pleases God.
  • Hebrews 13:16: Sharing with others pleases God.
  • 1 John 3:22: Keeping the commandments pleases God.

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Mike Ratliff – What is Antinomianism?

4 Πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν καὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν ποιεῖ, καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία. 5 καὶ οἴδατε ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ἐφανερώθη, ἵνα τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἄρῃ, καὶ ἁμαρτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν. 6 πᾶς ὁ ἐν αὐτῷ μένων οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει· πᾶς ὁ ἁμαρτάνων οὐχ ἑώρακεν αὐτὸν οὐδὲ ἔγνωκεν αὐτόν.
7 Παιδία, μηδεὶς πλανάτω ὑμᾶς· ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην δίκαιός ἐστιν, καθὼς ἐκεῖνος δίκαιός ἐστιν· 8 ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν, ὅτι ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ὁ διάβολος ἁμαρτάνει. εἰς τοῦτο ἐφανερώθη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα λύσῃ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ διαβόλου. 1 John 3:4-8 (NA28)

4 Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that he was manifested to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 No one who abides in him continually sins; those who continually sin have not seen him or known him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one practicing righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous 8 The one practicing sin is of the devil for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this cause the son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:4-8 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Antinomianism means “opposed to law.” Antinomian views are those denying that God’s law in Scripture should directly control the Christian’s life. Dualistic antinomianism appeared early in the Gnostic heresies. The Gnostics taught that salvation was for the soul only, making bodily behavior irrelevant both to God’s interest and to the soul’s health. The conclusion was that one may behave riotously and it will not matter.

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Steven Lawson – Grace-Fueled Obedience Is Absolutely Necessary for Christlikeness

Can you imagine a Christian couple actually praying about living together before marriage? Can you fathom a young woman who professes Christ even bothering to pray about whether she should marry an unbeliever? Can you grasp a Christian businessman having to pray about whether he should tell the truth in a transaction? When the Word of God is so clear, praying to discern God’s will becomes a convenient excuse—or even a prolonged filibuster—to avoid doing what Scripture commands.

Many who profess Christ today emphasize a wrong view of grace that makes it a free pass to do whatever they please. Tragically, they have convinced themselves that the Christian life can be lived without any binding obligation to the moral law of God. In this hyper-grace distortion, the need for obedience has been neutered. The commandments of God are no longer in the driver’s seat of Christian living, but have been relegated to the backseat, if not the trunk—like a spare tire—to be used only in case of an emergency. With such a spirit of antinomianism, what needs to be reinforced again is the necessity of obedience.

For all true followers of Christ, obedience is never peripheral. At the heart of what it means to be a disciple of our Lord is living in loving devotion to God. But if such love is real, the acid test is obedience. Jesus maintained, “If you love me,you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Genuine love for Christ will always manifest itself in obedience.

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Lex Meyer – A Man After God’s Heart

What does it mean to be a man after God’s own heart? We are told that David pleased God, and that he was a man after God’s own heart. We also recognize him as a model of what it means to be a man of faith. We know that he wrote many of the Psalms, and was considered a very good King, but are these the things that make him a man after God’s own heart? Lets examine the Scriptures to find out what was so special about David.

And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will. (Acts 13:21-22)

We know that God was not happy with Saul, which is why he was eventually replaced by David as king. But what did Saul do to displease God?

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:13-14)

Samuel makes it very clear that the reason Saul was removed is because he did not keep God’s commandments. This is in contrast to what a man after God’s own heart would do. He was seeking a king who would keep His commandments, and so, he selected David to become king.

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Tim Challies – The Commandment We Forgot

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It is a commandment of God. It is a commandment with promise, with divine blessings attached to it. It is a commandment positioned in a place of special honor and significance. It is a commandment pertaining to the whole life of every human being. It is a commandment with application to the home, church, and workplace, a commandment that provides a stable foundation to all of society. Yet it is a commandment that is sorely neglected today. It may not be overstating the case to call it the commandment we forgot. It is the fifth of God’s ten great commandments to humanity: Honor your father and mother.

Today I am beginning a short series on this commandment and mean to focus especially on an angle few of us have seriously explored: What does it mean to obey this commandment as adults? We understand that it applies to children and teaches them the importance of honoring and obeying mom and dad. But does the commandment stop applying the day we move out or the day we get married? Does it expire when our parents die or when they prove themselves unworthy of our respect? Does it apply to those who have been abandoned or abused? Does our adherence to this commandment change as we grow older and become independent? Maybe our questions are urgent and practical: What are my obligations toward my parents? Do I need to support them financially? Do I need to obey them even though I’m a full-grown adult? These are some of the questions we need to ask and answer if we wish to honor God by honoring his commandment.

I don’t mind saying that I have high hopes for this series. I want it to be biblical, to take the Bible as the ultimate source of truth and the only standard with the right to demand obedience and bind the conscience. I want this series to be practical, to answer real questions in real ways for real life. I want this series to be multi-cultural, to apply to people from different backgrounds and in different places in the world. I want this series to be convicting, to impact and perhaps even transform the way we live. This is true whether we are young or old, whether we are parented or parenting, whether we are dependent upon them or they are dependent upon us, whether we live under their roof or whether they live under ours.

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Krizzamer Bagasbas – Obeying Out of Love

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I was a teenager once, just like you…

I’ve been in those situations where you want to disobey your parents for some shallow and immature reasons; however, if I had the chance to bring back the time, I would have followed them all the days of my life, wholeheartedly.

Unlike other teenagers, I was already away from my parents at the age of 12. When I passed the entrance exam in one of the most prestigious schools in our region, my parents decided to send me to that school, even though it meant being away from them at a very young age.

It was hard. It’s hard when you’re forced to be independent. I learned how to do things on my own. I didn’t have my parents around helping me out in the morning while preparing for school. I didn’t have them when I found that my classes were a bit hard and I wanted someone to guide me on how to get through them.

Although I grew up having to be responsible, I still long for that day when I will not be away from them.

It makes me upset every time I see people disobeying their parents in public. I don’t like it when it’s easy for some to shout at their parents or act like they are not there. You may sometimes feel like they do not understand you, and that your friends love you more, but believe me–no one among your friends will ever love you more than how much your parents love you.

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A. W. Pink – A Word to Parents

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One of the saddest and most tragic features of our twentieth-century “Civilization” is the awful prevalence of disobedience on the part of children to their parents during the days of childhood — and their lack of reverence and respect when they grow up. This is evidenced in many ways, alas, even in the families of professing Christians. In his extensive travels during the past thirty years the writer has sojourned in a great many homes. The piety and beauty of some of them remain as sacred and fragrant memories—but others of them have left the most painful impressions. Children who are self-willed or spoiled, not only bring themselves into perpetual unhappiness, but inflict discomfort upon all who come into contact with them, and foreshadow evil things for the days to come.

In the vast majority of cases the children are not to be blamed nearly so much as the parents. Failure to honor father and mother, wherever it is found, is in large measure due to parental departure from the Scriptural pattern. Nowadays the father considers that he has fulfilled his obligations by providing food and clothing for his children, and by acting occasionally as a species of moral policeman. Too often the mother is content to be a domestic drudge, making herself the slave of her children instead of training them to be useful, performing many a task which her daughters should do, in order to allow them freedom for the frivolous. The consequence has been that the home, which ought to be — for its orderliness, its sanctity, and its reigns of love — a miniature heaven and earth, has degenerated into “a filling station for the day and a parking place for the night” as someone has tersely expressed it.

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John Angell James – The Duties of Children to their Parents

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Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3

“My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s teaching. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. Wherever you walk, their counsel can lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up in the morning, they will advise you.” Proverbs 6:20-22

“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!” Proverbs 23:24-25

Perhaps there is no duty the obligations of which are more generally acknowledged than filial piety; none which in the performance yields greater pleasure; nor which, if neglected brings a more severe or righteous retribution. All nations, however sunk in barbarism or elevated by science, have admitted the strength and justice of parental claims; and the unhappy youth who resists them, stands convicted, condemned and reprobated before the tribunal of the world. On the other hand, an eminently dutiful child is an object of delight, admiration and esteem, to all who have an opportunity of witnessing his conduct; he goes through society surrounded by a glory purer than that of fame, and far more conducive to his own comfort; he is a blessing to his parents, and is blessed himself.

Children, may all of you be such—and for that purpose, I ask your fixed attention to the statement of your duties, as set before you in this chapter. The obligations of family life are reciprocal. If your parents owe to you all that I have enjoined upon them, how much do you owe to your parents? I have been your advocate with them, I now become theirs with you.

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Mike Leake – Rules Without Reasons

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If I’d been in the Garden of Eden, it would have been a bit like this:

God: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Me: “Why? Why would I die from that? This seems like a really dumb rule that doesn’t make any sense at all. Explain to me your thought process here and I’ll gladly obey. But I don’t obey dumb rules that don’t make any sense.”

Satan: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?

Me: “Yes, he did. And then he didn’t explain to me why. He just said don’t do it. Which doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. “

Satan: “That’s because God is holding out on you. He didn’t want to tell you the whole story because he is trying to rip you off. You saw right through it, oh, wise one. You don’t have to follow dumb rules that don’t make any sense. If God really loved you then He would tell you everything.

Me: *chomps down on forbidden fruit*

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Greg Bahnsen – God’s Unchanging Holiness and Law

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There is a sense in which the aim of every man’s life is to be like God. All men are striving to imitate God in one way or another. Of course not all attempts to be like God are honored by the Lord and rewarded with His favor, for there is a radical difference between submitting to the Satanic temptation to be like God (Gan. 3:5) and responding to Christ’s injunction that we should be like God (Matt. 5:48). The first is an attempt to replace God’s authority with one’s own, while the second is an attempt to demonstrate godliness as a moral virtue.

The basic character of godly morality was made manifest in the probation or testing placed upon Adam and Eve in the Garden. God had granted them permission to eat of any tree of the garden, save one. They were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil not because its fruit was injected with some literal poison that was not good for them, but as a test of whether they would live solely under the authority of God’s word to them. God had forbidden it. Would they, despite their empirical research and personal desires, submit to His command on His simple say-so? Would they do their duty on the sheer basis that it was their duty? Or would they evaluate the command of God on the basis of some external standard of reasonableness, practicality. and human benefit? The outcome of the story is all too well known. Satan beguiled Eve, denying what God had told her, and thereby leading her to assume the authoritative, neutral position of determining for herself whether God’s “hypothesis” or Satan’s “hypothesis” was true. Satan implied that God’s commands were harsh, too stringent, unreasonable. He in effect condemned the supreme, absolute, and unchallengable authority of God. He went on to suggest that God is in fact jealous, prohibiting Adam and Eve from eating of the tree lest they become like Him — lest they become rivals to Him in determining what is good and evil. Thus our first parents were led to seek a lifestyle which was not bound by law from God; thus they were tempted into deciding for themselves what would count as good and evil. Law would not be laid down to them by God, for they would lay it down for themselves. Demonstrating sin’s lawlessness (I John 3:4) they became “like God” — law-givers of their own making and authority. God’s law, which should have been their delight, became burdensome to them.

By contrast, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, lived a life of perfect obedience to the laws of God. When Satan tempted Him to depart from the path of utter obedience to God’s commands, the Savior replied by quoting from the Old Testament law: you are not to tempt the Lord your God, you are to worship and serve Him alone, and you are to live by every word that proceeds from His mouth (Matt. 4:1-11). Here we have the very opposite of Adam and Eve’s response to Satan. Christ said that the attitude which in genuinely godly recognizes the moral authority of God alone, does not question the wisdom of His dictates, and observes every last detail of His word. This is man’s proper path to God-likeness. To live in this fashion displays the image or likeness of God that man was originally intended to be (Gen. 1:27), for it is living “in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Genuine godliness, as commanded in the Scripture, is gained by imitating the holiness of God on a creaturely level — not by audacious attempts to redefine good and evil in some area of life on your own terms.

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