THE FOUR-FOLD PLEASURE OF GOD
Scripture Texts: Colossians 1:19; Matthew 3:17; Isaiah 53:10; I Corinthians 1:21
In the scripture verses mentioned above, the Holy Spirit brings before us the four-fold pleasure of God. The first is found in Colossians 1:19 where we're told "For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." In the previous 4 verses we're told that the Lord Jesus Christ "is the image of the invisible God", that "all things were created by Him, and for Him", that "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist", and "that in all things He might have the preeminence." Yes, God was pleased to manifest Himself in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Colossians 2:9 we read that in Jesus Christ "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
Friend, when Jesus Christ left the glories of Heaven to be born of the virgin called Mary, He was the Son of God becoming the "Son of Man", so that we sinful sons of men might, through faith in Him, become the sons of God. In I Timothy 3:16 we read, "great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." Yes, Jesus Christ left the presence of God, the Father, and entered the bosom of the virgin called Mary. Why? So that He could bring spiritual redemption to mankind; His sinful creatures here on earth. Over 700 years before He was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words concerning Him, in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel," and we're told in Matthew 1:23 that His name means "God with us". And that is exactly Who He was, "GOD WITH US".
Again in Isaiah 9:6 we read concerning Him,"For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given; ... and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Friend, it brought pleasure to the heart of God when His Son left the ivory palace above to enter the stench-filled stable and Bethlehem's manger. Yes, God loved the world of sinful mankind so much, that He sent His Son down here to die for our sins at Calvary's cross. We read in I John 4:9, "that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." The Lord, Himself, declared in John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
There are no doubt countless millions of souls in Heaven today who are there because they accepted the truth of John 3:16, where the Lord Jesus Christ declared, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Friend, I thank God that He became incarnate, and traversed the scenes of this earth in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul reminds us in II Corinthians 5:19 that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." And the Lord Jesus Christ declares in John 10:30, "I and My Father are one." Then later on in John 14:9 He said, "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ was God personified !
Now let's take a look at Matthew 3:17, for there we read the second of the four-fold pleasures of God. In this chapter 3 of Matthew, we read of the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as He was coming up out of the water of the Jordan River, God's voice from Heaven declared, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." Friend, it not only pleased God to send His Son into the world, but every word, thought and deed of the Lord Jesus Christ, brought pleasure to God. When the Lord Jesus Christ was born, it pleased God! When the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, it pleased God! When the Lord Jesus Christ gave sight to the blind, it pleased God! When the Lord Jesus Christ cured those who were sick and suffering, it pleased God! When the Lord Jesus Christ raised from the dead, those who had died, it pleased God! When the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins at Calvary, it pleased His Father, God! And the ultimate proof of God's satisfaction with everything His Son did, is found in the fact that following His sacrificial death, and three days after His subsequent burial, God raised him from the dead to have Him sit at God's right hand in Heaven above. And today, to those of us who are saved, He is our Great High Priest, our Advocate. our Intercessor, and the only Mediator between us and our Heavenly Father.
In John 6:38 the Lord Jesus Christ said, "For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." Later on, in John 8:29 the Lord also declared, "He that sent Me is with Me ... for I do always those things that please Him." And let us never forget that the Lord Jesus Christ was pleased to obey the desires of His Father, God. In Psalms 40:7,8 He said, prophetically, "Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart." Is it any wonder why God declared that "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" ? Yes, obedience to God always brings pleasure to God! Tell me friend, what have you ever done that brought pleasure to your Creator?
You may recall, that in Genesis chapter 4, when Cain and Abel each brought an offering unto God, He had respect for Abel's offering, but God had no respect for Cain's offering. Why? Because Abel was obedient to the pattern, principle and precept of blood sacrifice, whereas Cain sought to please God with the efforts of his own labors. Friend, we can only bring pleasure to God when we exercise simple faith in the value and virtue of the shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary's cross. In Hebrews 11:6 we're told that "without faith it is impossible to please Him." You might be thinking, "Well, where can I get the necessary faith so that I can please God?" The answer is found in Romans 10:17 where we read, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Friend, that's the reason I quote so much scripture in my oral preaching and in my writings. I want you to know what God says, because He is the One we have to please, not men. I heartily concur with what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, "do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
Perhaps someone is wondering how a person can know for certain that they are really "saved", and are on their way to Heaven. Well friend, the word of God gives us the assurance of salvation, and God's word is good enough for me. In Titus 1:2 we're told that God cannot lie, because if He could, He would cease to be God. Yes, faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ SECURES our salvation, but it's the word of God that ASSURES our salvation! Furthermore, feelings have nothing to do with salvation. Your feelings may change with the weather, or your physical condition, but the word of God is changeless!
Now that leads us to the third text for today, Isaiah 53:10, and again we read of something that pleased God. Here's what we read, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief." Yes, and I believe that we are treading on holy ground as we seek to comment briefly on this verse of scripture. Friend, I've only got a mere finite mind, and my comprehension therefore is quite limited, but if I live to be a thousand years old, I'll never be able to fully understand how God could bruise His Son and put Him to grief. No, I can't understand how God could love a rebel sinner like me, so much, that He would pour out His wrath upon His dearly well-beloved Son, the only One Who was holy, harmless and undefiled. I must confess that I'm lost in holy wonder and amazement at the truth of II Corinthians 5:21, which tells me that God "hath made Him to be sin for us, He Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Also, the Apostle Peter reminds us, in I Peter 3:18,that "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."
Friend, we have to remember that God is a just, righteous and holy God. He hates sin with an infinite hatred. And yet, the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, was willing to bear our sins in His own body on the cross, so that we could escape the wages of sin, which is both physical and spiritual death. Yes, during those three hours of darkness on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ was subjected to the full wrath of a holy God against sin. All the wrath of God, which was due to sinners like you and me, was poured forth upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It was then that the Son of God cried out from the depths of His soul, "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Friend, the reason why He was forsaken, was so that we might not be forsaken. He took the place of distance, so that we might be brought back into a new, and a proper relationship with our Creator. And it was all due to the grace of God expressed in the death of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Ephesians 1:6,7 that God "hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
Now friend, please don't get the idea that only a sadistic God would be pleased to bruise His Son and put Him to grief. No, the words "please", or "pleasure", simply mean that it was God's divine authority, optional desire, or His permissive will, that His own Son would be the Sacrifice for our sins. Yes, the only scriptural and logical reason why God found pleasure in the suffering and death of His Son, was because it was the only way whereby sinful creatures, like you and I, could be brought into a position of favor with God. Apart from the substitutionary death, and subsequent resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, there could be no salvation for our souls. In Acts 4:12 the Apostle Peter emphasizes, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Even the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, declares in John 14:6, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE, no man cometh unto the Father BUT BY ME."
Sinner friend, if you're ever going to be in Heaven, you'll have to come by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, and accept Him as your own and personal Saviour. There's no other way, so don't try to please God by your so-called "good deeds", high morality, church membership, or religious rituals, it just won't work! In Titus 3:5 we're told that it's "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Again in Ephesians 2:8,9 we read, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that, not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Friend, if you and I could do anything to either merit, or inherit, eternal life in the Kingdom of God, then tell me, why did the Lord Jesus Christ suffer the shameful, agonizing, and ignominious death on Calvary's cross ? Yes, He had to die, if we were to live; and because He lives today at the right hand of God, we have adequate proof that God, the Father, was well-pleased with the death of His Son.
Now that leads us to the fourth, and final text, which is I Corinthians 1:21 where we read that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Yes, it pleases God when the Gospel of His marvelous, wonderful, matchless, sovereign and electing grace is being preached. But why does God refer to "the foolishness of preaching"? The answer is found in I Corinthians 1:18 where we read, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness." In other words, the unsaved sinners, in their unregenerate spiritual condition, consider the Gospel of Jesus Christ as foolishness. They have no time for hearing about the word and will of God. They have no desire to have fellowship with God, or with His redeemed and blood bought people. And there is absolutely no reverential fear of God, the One Who holds their every breath in His hands. They are not a bit worried about where they will be in eternity. They live with the diabolical philosophy of "Eat, drink and be merry!" Just live for today, and let tomorrow take care of itself! Yes, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the unsaved, "but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Perhaps you're still wondering why the preaching of the cross would bring pleasure to God. Well friend, the reason is simply because it brings glory to God. Yes, when the Gospel is preached, and souls are saved, more glory is heaped upon God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It adds immeasurable value and virtue to His death at Calvary's cross. Yes, and there is joy, and rejoicing, in Heaven over even one sinner that repenteth. And the salvation of just one soul means that there will be one less soul in Hell, the place of eternal torment and separation from a loving God, Who is, according to II Peter 3:9, "long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." We're also told in I Timothy 2:4, that God would "have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
If there is someone reading this message today who has never heard the Gospel before, you may be wondering what the Gospel is all about; so let me tell you what the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15:1-4, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Yes, the word "GOSPEL" means "good news", or "glad tidings", and it sure is "GOOD NEWS" to those who are perishing in their sins and headed down the broad road to the place that Jesus Christ called "HELL". It tells us that we don't have to be punished for our sins, because the Lord Jesus Christ has already paid the price for our salvation, when He shed His precious blood at Calvary. And if we trust in Him as our Sin bearer, or Saviour, then we go free. Now tell me, is that too difficult to understand? Well, for the sake of your soul's eternal welfare, I HOPE NOT !
Friend, salvation is a matter of believing God. God says that we're sinners who can't do anything to save our own souls, but if we acknowledge and repent of our sins, and BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins at Calvary, at that very moment, according to God, Who cannot lie, we are "SAVED", "BORN AGAIN", "CONVERTED". Yes, and we are as sure of being in Heaven as though we were already walking the street of gold. In John 3:36 we're told, "He that BELIEVETH on the Son HATH everlasting life; and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life, BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM."
Tell me, friend, in what part of that verse are you found? If you're in the first part, then you already have everlasting life; on the other hand, if you're in the last part, then you are only a heartbeat from eternal suffering in Hell and the Lake of Fire. Well, that's it sinner friend. You've read this Gospel message today concerning "The Four-Fold Pleasure of God", in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, and now you have to make a decision. You're either going to choose God's Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and personal Saviour, or else you're going to go on in your sinful condition, and you'll soon be in the place of eternal torment. And friend, as you make your decision FOR or AGAINST the Lord Jesus Christ, just keep in mind this very important fact, it makes a difference for all eternity whether you're right or wrong today !
As this Gospel message draws to a close, I would like to remind the reader that if you are a true child of God through faith in His Son, then you will have the Spirit-led desire to tell others about Him. In Romans 10:9-11 we're told, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." And even the Lord tells us in Matthew 10:32,33, "Whosoever, therefore, shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father, which is in Heaven." Friend, if you're truly a "born again" child of God, then you must confess Him to those with whom you come in contact. REMEMBER, THERE ARE NO "STILL BORN" IN THE FAMILY OF GOD. THEY ARE ALL BORN WITH SPIRITUAL LIFE!
In closing, my friend, I can't help but wonder if you are really anxious about being saved. And if so, perhaps the devil, the enemy of God, and the enemy of your soul, is telling you to procrastinate, or to postpone your acceptance of God's salvation until a future date. Yes, the Devil is telling you not to worry, not to get excited, because you have plenty of time to get saved. Friend, if so, then please don't let the Devil rob you of eternal life in Heaven. No! But just remember that the road to Hell is paved with "good intentions"! And furthermore, there are millions of souls down in Hell today, who had expected to get saved, "SOMEDAY".
Friend, you have absolutely no guaranty that your eyes will ever see the light of another day of God's grace. In fact, today's date may be on your tombstone as the date of your death. If so, where would your soul be, HEAVEN or HELL ? God tells us in Proverbs 27:1, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." In Proverbs 29:1 we are again warned, "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Yes, and we're told quite clearly in II Corinthians 6:2, "Behold NOW is the accepted time; behold NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION."
Well, there isn't much more I can say, except that in love for your soul, and in view of the vast eternity that lies ahead, I plead with you to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, alone, as your own and personal Saviour. And friend, if you do, God will be pleased, and you'll be pleased too, because you'll not only be saved for time, but thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. AND REMEMBER, MY FRIEND, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY! YES, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY!
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk