So we’ve talked about God being happy when we are happy, and when we agree with Him in recognising ourselves righteous in Christ, and in following Him to speak by faith using His authority and power to affect situations positively.
As we round up our discussion on what pleases God today, the final thing I learnt was: God is happy when we talk about Jesus and what His Son has done.
Parents would know this very well. The best and easiest way to bring joy to a parent’s heart and to get them talking incessantly is to bring up their child in conversation. And you would get an earful of what their child has done, is doing, is planning to do or will be doing, and stories about their child they’ve told over and over again, to everyone and anyone. New parents will even go to the extent of sharing how their baby sleeps, feeds, goes to the toilet, and how it looks like. Yes.
Jesus is God’s precious Son, the Darling of heaven itself. He was there with God right at the beginning, before the heavens and the earth were created, and He was daily God’s delight (Proverbs 8:22-31). In more than one place, God said about Jesus: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35)
So why is it that we hardly hear the name of Jesus being mentioned in churches today, or the work of Jesus for us being preached, except during Good Friday and Christmas? Why are we hearing instead of all the things we should be, or the things we need to do as Christians to save a bleeding world?
We’re not God. He is. We don’t give hope, faith, or love, bring peace, or work miracles. He does. And the church should be a place where we magnify Him, not us.
God loves it when we discover and see His Son in the pages of the Bible. Because the Bible is nothing more than a picture book and a family album of God, all about His beloved and darling Son Jesus. If we look deeper, we will see the pictures of Jesus hidden in the stories of the Old Testament characters, in the building of the Tabernacle, in the garments of the High Priest, in the feasts and the offerings, in the descriptions of the laws, in the psalms, proverbs, songs, and prophecies. In short, we will see how God has lovingly concealed His Son and His redemptive work of grace in every book.
And the Bible is also a love letter to us, to reveal to us God’s great and amazing love for us in what He has done. The epistles of the apostle Paul in the New Testament tell us the richness and fullness of all that Jesus has done for us, and our inheritance in Christ today. God loves hearing us talk about our standing in Christ today, because that’s how He sees us, and it exalts the work of His Son. It’s His father’s heart.
We want to do good for the kingdom of God, but we can never love God truly until we realise how much He truly loves us. We love – Him, and others around us – because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). And His love is demonstrated in His sending His Son to be the full atonement for our sins (1 John 4:10).
How do we receive His love? Give up trying to earn our way to Him, or to heaven. We don’t have to. Because we can’t. None of us can ever be good enough to enter heaven by our own merits and works, or even come close to it. Simply RECEIVE what He has done for us, as a gift, and stop trying to pay for it after that by trying to do things to score points with Him.
What’s the gift? The Bible tells us that it is the gift of righteousness – that we are righteous in Christ – and the abundance of grace, the promise that we will be the heir of the world, and that we have been redeemed from every curse of the law, amongst many other blessings.
Simply receiving His grace and saying thank you won’t make us lazy or lawless. If we are struggling in any area, God’s grace will never leave us in our sin. But it will make us end up doing good and serving Him, not out of fear or obligation, but out of the best kind of love – His own love.
God wants us to go to church every week to hear about what He has done for us, and not about what we should be doing for Him, or for the church or for His kingdom. Because He knows that the more we hear about the perfect work of His Son Jesus, and the more we rest afresh in His love and grace, the more we will end up doing for Him, and the more His power will flow in us to work miracles.
It is He who provides the resources, the open doors, the strength, the willingness, and the ability. As Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Simply resting in Jesus will cause us to bear much fruit.
Is there proof? In our home church which preaches strongly on Jesus’s grace and our eternal righteousness in Christ week after week, and seeing Jesus in the Bible, there is a constant incoming flow of testimonies of people being delivered from their sins and lifelong addictions, of cancers and sicknesses being healed, of marriages restored, and miracles received. And they go on to spread the good news of the gospel to others around them, blessing others even as they have been blessed.
As the lives of the people in the church prospers, the church prospers, and missions and relief efforts are funded, that those in countries of need may be helped, and also hear of the grace of Jesus. We and others listening become hooked on the Word, fall in love with Jesus and with the Bible, and love to serve and share about Jesus, without burning out.
But we don’t hear messages about the need to do missions or love or do more for God in our church, we simply hear about the grace of Jesus. I can’t explain the results, I can only say what’s being heard, and what results.
And that’s what pleases God. When we talk about Jesus and magnify the perfect work that His Son has done. It will cause us to prosper in our souls and our lives, and out of the overflow bless others and work great things through Jesus’s power and grace.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.