Exactly 48 years ago, the slap, slapstick actor, Charlie Chaplin was knighted. He became Sir Charles Chaplin. Now Charlie Chaplin was known to be a slapstick comedy actor. His goal every time he performs, he said was, to please people, to make them laugh their hearts out, he said. You know in christian life, we are not actors. We have been, as you know, we have been redeemed by the Lord. In fact we are called to live differently. We are not to be a people-pleasing people. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 28 verses 1 to 9. we will read from ESV. Genesis chapter 28 verses 1 to 9.Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women.
Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother. Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God will stand forever.
The chapter begins by showing us how Isaac has changed. He’s now assuming responsibility. He now pronounce the blessing to Jacob, the blessing that was supposed to be invoked many, many years ago. And before he sends Jacob to Paddan-aram, he blesses Jacob, his son. And as we see here, Isaac was reiterating the covenant of God with Abraham, that their descendants will be multiplied and that the land will be given to them and to their descendants. Now, Esau on the other hand, saw what happened. He also heard what is Isaac told Jacob, that was to not marry Canaanite women because it didn’t please his parents. As you know, previous chapters, at the end of Genesis chapter 25, we see there that Esau married Hittite women and the Hittites were actually Canaanites. And so upon hearing that, that Isaac and of course Rebekah did not want their sons to marry Canaanite women because it did not please his parents, so in order to please his father Isaac, Esau then adds another wife to his collection of wives. And of course taking note of what he heard Esau did not marry a Canaanite woman. Rather, a daughter of Ishmael. Now, remember that Ishmael was the son of Abraham. But Ishmael and his descendants were kicked out of the covenant community because there were threats to the line of Isaac. And so the irony here is that in Esau’s pursuit to please his father, he ended up still marrying someone that is really not chosen for someone in their line. Someone who is from the family that has been cut off from the covenant community. See, this is the problem of pleasing men over pleasing God. Obviously Esau did not seek to please God. Remember, in fact he despised the birthright. We mentioned that he despised the promises of God, he despised God. And see when we seek to please God, there is a prerequisite in order to please God. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6 tells us it speaks of Enoch who has taken up in Genesis chapter 5. It says there without faith, si Enoch was taken up; he had faith. All through the life of Enoch in Genesis chapter 5, he was able to walk with God and it was pleasing to God. In Hebrews chapter 11 interprets it for us it says, because he had faith. And if you don’t have faith, it says in verse 6 of Hebrews 11, without faith, it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. So Esau in this chapter was like someone who had no faith. He, when he, he knows God who He is because of course he’s uh from the family of the covenant community, but he did not believe that the God of Abraham and of Isaac is able to reward salvifically those who seek God. In a sense you can say that Esau here in this chapter was like Cain, if you remember Cain. Cain offered a sacrifice to the Lord and yet he did not have faith. He offered a sacrifice, not believing that God can reward a faithful sacrifice without faith. He was not, he was he wasn’t able to please God. Same thing for Esau. He despised the promises of God. He wasn’t repentant. Therefore, it wasn’t God whom Esau was really pleasing. It was his father.
But you know, even as christians, there is a problem that all of us
may struggle with. Mayroon tayong matututunan dito sa chapter na ito when it comes to.. of course we’re not saying that we are like Esau.
Because if we are, if we, we are in Christ, then we would definitely not like Esau, right. Pero may matututunan tayo dito, may warning dito sa atin na marahil nag-s-struggle din tayo, nakita natin si Esau trying to please his father, right. Although ang irony nun, nagkamali pa siya, mali pa siya ng ginawa. But again, even as christians, this may happen to us. We sometimes tend to please men, instead of pleasing God.
When I say men, I also include even women. We sometimes reach the heights just to please people, compromising our submission to God.
Now remember Paul’s words in First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31 so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do do all to the glory of God. Ibig sabihin, lahat ng gagawin mo sa buhay mo, lahat ng sasabihin mo mula sa bibig mo, lahat ng iyon ay dapat glorifying sa iyong Panginoon. And we are very familiar with question number one in Westminster catechism — what is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. So my message this afternoon is pleasing God should be the highest duty of every christian.
PLEASING GOD SHOULD BE THE HIGHEST DUTY OF EVERY CHRISTIAN. It should not be like Esau here in Genesis chapter 28. And so what’s hindering us from pleasing God? Of course when we please men over God. It’s important that we understand, first point, the root of people-pleasing. And what would give us motivation in pleasing God? We will look at the second point THE REASON GOD IS PLEASED.
Let’s consider the first point THE ROOT OF PEOPLE-PLEASING. You see, this is not the first time Esau tried to please his father. Esau grew up being loved more by his father, Isaac. So it could be that Esau really grew up always trying to please his father. Aba’y nagkaroon na ng favouritism, so probably as a son, you’re taking advantage of that and you would please your father more. And his father, Isaac was indeed always pleased. Genesis chapter 25 verse 28 it says Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game. So his father, Isaac was so pleased sa pagluluto ng kaniyang anak, paghu-hunt ng kaniyang anak na si Esau. Busog na busog ang ama na si Isaac. Pleased na pleased siya. And the chapter before this Genesis chapter 27, we see, we see Esau, again trying to please his father. When Isaac told Esau to hunt for a game so that he would bless him, aba! Esau immediately obeyed. And when Esau did not get the blessing, he wept bitterly. And you would know that he was trying to please his father; he wants something, what was his reaction? He wept, right. He sought the blessing with tears. Now in Genesis chapter 28, we see this chapter, even after failing and not getting the blessing, Esau still tried for the last time to please his father by marrying someone outside, marrying not a Canaanite woman. But eventually someone outside of the covenant community. Genesis chapter 28 verses 8 to 9 when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, He wants to please his father because he wants something. He still wanted the blessing for himself. So the goal was not really to please his father, ultimate goal was to be pleased with himself, was to please himself, was to benefit himself. The root, that is the root, the root of sinful people-pleasing is self-serving; the desire to be liked, pleasing others so that they would like you. Ultimately, you will be the one benefiting. That is the root of that sinful desire. And the desire to be liked results to what? Compromising pleasing the one worthy of Glory. That’s what, what is compromised here. And I say, I say sinful people-pleasing because there is a people-pleasing that is not sinful. Paul said in First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 33, sabi ni Paul, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. It is a people-pleasing that is sacrificial, remember in context First Corinthians chapter 8 to 10 talks about his liberty, christian liberty to abstain so that people will not stumble. So ang ginawa niya, he, he exercises liberty to abstain so that the others would be pleased so that they may be saved. Hindi yung sarili niya ang inisip niya, okay. So that, so there is this people-pleasing that is not sinful, okay. It is a people’s, people-pleasing that is sacrificial. It is the seeking of the good of others. That is a people-pleasing, that is to the glory of God, that is a people-pleasing that is God-pleasing. Paul intended primarily to please God. And how did he do it? He pleased people in a way that it benefited them. It said there that they may be saved. That they may know the gospel so that the gospel will be more attractive, so that the gospel would be more understandable for them. This is the kind of God-pleasing that Christ himself did. He did not seek His own advantage and glory. Philippians chapter 2 verse 6 he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped He sought the good of others, He sought the good of sinners, He sought the good of His people by dying for them on the cross, by being their substitute so that His people will not be condemned. Because of Christ, they are saved. Because of Christ’s work, God is glorified.
Because of Christ’s death, life, death, resurrection, God is pleased. This is who Christ is and what He has done. And if you are not in Him, heed His call. Don’t be like Esau. Don’t please others because you know the back of your head, ang gusto mo talaga, ma-please ang sarili mo, mag-benefit ang sarili mo. That is different from the call of Christ which is to deny yourself. That is anti-christian. The christian call is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. When Christ says deny yourself, hindi na yung advantage mo. Hindi na yung sarili mo ang iisipin mo, kundi iba na. Kasi ganun ang ginawa ni Christ. When Christ says take up your cross, nung si Christ, ay tinake up Niya yung cross Niya, naglakad Siya, that’s just one way, hindi na Siya bumalik. Ibig sabihin, if you follow Christ, you’re dying to yourself! That is Christianity. What Esau did was anti-christian. People-pleasing because the real motivation here, the root of people-pleasing here is that you want advantage for yourself…ikaw at hindi iba. And so heed the call of Christ if you are not in Him yet. Repent of your sins. Repent of your sins and have faith in Jesus Christ. He’s the one who took up the cross and died on the calvary for the sins of His people. But if you are in Jesus Christ, this is something that you may struggle with.
Remember the desire to be liked, the desire to self-serve is the root of people-pleasing. Remember Paul’s words again, Galatians chapter 1 verse 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. See how it was, it is anti-christian for Esau to do that. But see brethren, you are servants of Christ. If you are in Christ, you are servants of Christ, therefore the highest duty you have is to please our God. So let me present to you our first challenge in this afternoon deny any sinful people-pleasing motives in our hearts and cultivate pleasing God. Deny Any Sinful People-Pleasing Motives In Our Hearts And Cultivate Pleasing God.
Mortify any self-conceited, self-centred, self-serving motives that are couched in pleasing others. And cultivate pleasing God by obeying His word.. cultivate. Patuloy ito, nag-p-progress ito, nag-de-develop ang pag-please sa Panginoon dahil na de-develop din ang grasya ng Panginoon sa buhay mo, nag-g-grow din ang iyong sanctification, ang iyong obedience. It is a cultivation of a life pleasing to God by obeying His word, by seeking others’ good, by seeking your brethren’s good.
How, how do you know that? Papaanong malalaman natin? How do you seek the good of others? You look to Christ. You look to the life and death of Jesus Christ.
You know, there are times when in our pursuit to please God by obeying His word, it is the people who are not pleased. It is unfortunate, yes. Na kahit na, if you’re a husband, you love your wife and you know that by heeding the call of loving your wife will be pleasing to God, and yet it doesn’t have an effect in your home. The love of the husband does not have an effect because the sin of the wife prevails at home. Baligtarin natin, kapag ang wife nagsu-submit sa kaniyang husband, heeding the call of God in Ephesians 5, First Peter Chapter 3, of course when we obey the word of God, that is pleasing to God. But unfortunately, because they exist, because of the existence of sin, pwedeng walang epekto yun at sinful pa din yung recipient nung submission, yung recipient nung pagmamahal. That is unfortunate, yes. But friends and brethren, that is the christian life. The christian life is a life of continuous pleasing and glorifying our God. Kahit hindi, hindi maganda sa paningin natin yung epekto, as we obey the word of God, and yung pag-receive nung tao na yun, kung sinuman, kaibigan, ka- church, asawa, kapatid, kamag-anak, hindi, kumbaga hindi, walang epekto sa kanya. Huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa. Ito’y patuloy, continuous ang ating call to please God, continuous ang ating call to obedience. And in the process, people who are, if they, if they are still pleased by their sin, walang epekto sa kanila ang obedience mo, then people who are pleased by sin will not be pleased at us and even sa Diyos. Now the problem is if we compromise, and there will be temptations to do so. Kahit gusto natin ma-please ang ating kaibigan, asawa, kamag-anak, and so ang gagawin natin, hindi na natin o-obey ang salita ng Diyos dahil gusto natin sila i-please. That is the temptation. The call is to stand firm, to deny any sinful people- pleasing motives in our hearts and cultivating pleasing God through our obedience. In His work, The Sin Of Man-Pleasing by Richard Baxter, sinasabi niya dun, if you continue in this path of man-pleasing; that includes your self-serving motive, you will get tired. Mapapagod ka sabi niya. In fact, he calls people-pleasing as slavery. It’s a slavery. Sabi niya and I quote: “ Consider what a slavery you choose when you, thus, make yourselves the servants of every man, what a task do men- pleasers have? They have as many masters as beholders. No wonder if you take them off from the service of God, for the friendship of the world is enmity to God. And he, that will thus be a friend of the world, is an enemy to God. A man-pleaser cannot be true to God because he is a servant to the enemies of his service.” and quote. If you continue to please people, there are a lot of people na ip-please mo. Hindi ka matatapos sabi ni Richard Baxter. I-deny mo na iyan, kasi ang totoo niyan, meron kang selfish motive. Deny it. Ang kailangan mong i-please ay ang Panginoon through your obedience. Obedience that is Gospel-motivated, obedience that is enabled by the Holy Spirit, obedience that looks at the obedience of Christ, because you can’t do it apart from Him.
So are you are you an employee who is working to be liked by all?
Do you obey your earthly master, your earthly boss in everything not by way of eye service as people-pleasers but with sincerity of heart fearing the Lord Do you work for men and not heartily for God? Are you in a situation wherein you are tempted to compromise what the word of God says because you wanted to please someone in order to save face, in order to be light? Evaluate yourself. Do you want to please men because you ultimately want to serve yourself? Remember who you are to please. Remember that it is your highest duty as a christian. Remember that the life of a christian is an ongoing denial of the self in an ongoing praising and glorifying our God. My last point is the REASON GOD IS PLEASED.
Esau’s motivations are truly displeasing to God. On the other hand, his father, Isaac, because of his obedience, we can definitely say pleased our God. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 20. Papaano natin nalaman? Ini-interpret ito ng Hebrews chapter 11 for us. It says verse 20 by faith Isaac, see by faith, sa pananampalataya daw ni Isaac, he invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. So even scriptures call what Isaac pronounced to Esau as “blessings.” Naaalala nyo yung sinabi ni Isaac kay Esau? “Away from the fatness of the earth.” But Hebrews chapter 11 says, those are blessings. Blessings yun kasi at the end of the pronouncements, sabi doon, he will be able to break free from the yoke. It’s still a blessing. But that wasn’t the blessing that Esau wanted. He wanted the blessing Isaac has given to Jacob. But see, going back to to Isaac, by faith Isaac obeyed God by still pronouncing the blessings to Jacob despite of his previous failure, despite of him always wanting to bless Esau. Now, nung siya, kumbaga ay nag-change ang kanyang heart, binless na niya si Jacob at sinunod na niya ang Panginoon. And how did we know that God was pleased by that? Ginamit natin Hebrews chapter 11 verse 20, sabi doon na faithful si Isaac sa pag-invoke ng blessings.
Same chapter in Hebrews chapter 11 where we will see what was written there, that without faith, it is impossible to please God. And so Isaac indeed had faith when he invoked the blessings, God was pleased. Therefore, Isaac’s obedience in pronouncing the blessing to Jacob was indeed pleasing to God. Isaac believed that the line of Jacob would produce the promised Son.He believed this and his belief, his faith produced such God-pleasing obedience to the Lord. Same as us, brethren, when we believe in Christ, it produces a gospel motivated, Spirit enabled obedience that is pleasing to our Lord. It says in Hebrews chapter 13 verses 15 to 16 it says Through him, that is Christ, then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, ibig sabihin, patuloy nating i-worship, i-praise ang Panginoon dahil sa ginawa ni Kristo, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews chapter 13 says na yung mga good works daw natin are considered sacrifice na ino-offer sa Panginoon. And do you remember in the old covenant when they sacrificed correctly, biblically, that is pleasing sa Panginoon. And so, ibig sabihin dito, when we do our good works, when we obey God, when uh Isaac obeyed God, it was pleasing to God. It was done through Christ because Christ Himself has offered, in-offer Niya ang Kaniyang sarili sa Diyos. Ibig sabihin, yung mga naniniwala sa Kaniya, yung mga good works nila ay tinatanggap na din ng Panginoon. Such good works are pleasing to God because it is done through Christ. It is done on the account of Christ because Christ obeyed perfectly. Our good works are made perfect in Him. Tingin mo ba tatanggap ng hindi perpekto ang Diyos? Naalala nyo ba kung papaano dapat i-check ng bawat priest sa good covenant kung walang sugat, kung walang blemish ang tupa, ang hayop. At pag meron, hindi pwedeng i-sacrifice yun. Na dapat perfection ang tanggapin ng Panginoon. At si Kristo lamang ang perfect kaya tinanggap Siya ng Panginoon. Pero matanong kita, ang good works mo ba perfect iyon? Sa tingin mo ba, when you do your good works, sobrang perfect ito, at ito’y un-blemished, na walang evil motivation? No, meron. Hindi perpekto ang good works natin. Pero sinasabi sa atin dito, dahil sa ginawa ni Kristo, ito ay made perfect also, kaya ito’y tinatanggap din ng Panginoon. To our obedience is imperfect it, it pleases God because He accepts them as perfect in Christ. Of course it is not based on our merit; but on the grace bestowed at the cross of Christ. Christ has offered the all-pleasing sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God.And because of this, we too have been made children of God. So our sincere obedience are truly acceptable in the Father’s eyes. Kapag tayo’y nag-g-good works din, God is looking at us as His children. That’s why acceptable din yan. You know when a little child gives a small gift to his father, the father would be delighted. Sobrang tuwa nun! Not just because of the small gift, probably hindi nga perfect yung pagkakagawa ng gift na iyon or drawing. Whatever that is, whatever gift that is. But it’s not really the gift that elicits such response, such delight; rather, it is truly delightful to receive a gift from your own little child. Same way for us. We have been made sons and daughters of the father because the beloved Son, Jesus Christ is our reconciliation. But also because Christ is perfect, all our sincere works, all of our sincere good works, deeds, are purified, perfect in the sight of God. And therefore acceptable to the Father. So my last challenge for everyone, reflect daily.
REFLECT DAILY ON THE TRUTH THAT OUR GOOD WORKS ARE PLEASING TO GOD BECAUSE OF THE PERFECT OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST. This is what we must reflect on daily. That our works are not in vain because of Christ. That we can rest assure that our good works are truly pleasing in the most high God. Are you discouraged and you’re thinking that your sincere good works, sincere obedience to the Lord are all in vain? You try to submit to your own husband, and yet the husband still doesn’t show affection? You try to encourage your wife to worship God, and yet the wife doesn’t submit? You try to disciple a brother, disciple a sister in Christ and give them the give them Godly, biblical advice, and yet they still do not heed your advice, your biblical advice? You try to proclaim the gospel to the loss and yet they continue to reject the message? Remember, and may this be your motivation— reflect daily on this truth that our good works are pleasing to God regardless of the response. It is pleasing to God because of the perfect obedience of Christ. Be motivated by the fact that people may not be pleased, but God is. And that’s all that matters. This is again, if you are in Christ. Apart from Him, our so-called good works are not truly good in the sight of God. Sabi nga ni Augustine and I quote, “good works as they are called and sinners are nothing but splendid, splendid sins.” end quote. Kung wala ka kay Kristo, yang donations sa whatever charity, whatever good works that is, filthy rags sa mata ng Panginoon. Hindi yan acceptable, kapatid. Pero kung ikaw ay kay Kristo, totoo naman na meron talaga tayong maco-consider natin na teka, filthy rag pa rin itong good works na ito dahil alam ko na gaano ako makasalanan. Pero dahil sa ginawa ni Kristo, in-accept Niya ang perfect obedience ng Panginoong Hesukristo. Katanggap-tanggap din ang good works mo. Your good works have been made perfect in the eyes of God, therefore, it is acceptable and pleasing in His sight. What an opportunity! Not even their response is not what we would expect.
That even if our own works are imperfect, kahit yung response ng mga
recipients ng good works natin, hindi maayos ang response nila, hindi nakasalalay sa kanila…pleasing pa rin iyon sa Panginoon as you obey God. That a christian’s wife’s submission to her husband even though hindi perpekto pa rin ang obedience niya, it pleases the Lord? There are christians husbands, christian husbands love for his wife. The times when he encourages her to worship God, the times when he shows true affections, the times when he reads the word to her, with her, that was pleasing to the Lord. Even though the husband most of the times fail.
The time when I was so tempted to sin and the Holy Spirit reminded me of my freedom in Christ so I flee from that temptation…that time was pleasing to the Lord! The time when I asked a brother or a sister in Christ how he, how she is because she has been struggling with sin, that was pleasing to the Lord When I confessed my sin although it’s so hard, although it’s shameful, that is pleasing to the Lord. Oh what great and merciful God we have for Him to be pleased with a sinner like you and me, for him to be pleased with a wretch like you and me. And when we ask all these questions to ourselves, we all the more behold the beauty of Christ, the perfection of Christ because the only reason why God is pleased is because of His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Mga kapatid, remember always to deny any sinful people-pleasing motives. Our duty as christians is to please God. The
good news? God is indeed pleased in our obedience only because of the obedience of Christ. We must please God in everything. We will fail brethren, and when we do, remember that the perfect obedience of Christ covers even our disobedience. What God sees is the righteousness the perfect obedience of His son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the word of God enrich our knowledge of Him and may it stir us to live in life of these truths. Let us pray.
Great God and gracious Father, thank You Lord for Your grace, amazing grace and mercy in our lives. Lord you know that there are a lot of times that our motives are sinful, wretched in Your eyes. But Lord we have this assurance. Oh Lord that these things are covered by the Obedience of Christ. And Lord, even our sincerest good works, we know Lord it it feels in comparison to the good works of Christ and yet You also accept them and make them perfect as if it was Christ’s who, You see Christ’s obedience in our good works. And so Lord thank You, thank You Lord that our sins are no more. Although we still have remaining sins, our assurance is that Christ is perfect and its righteousness have been imputed to us. Lord, may this motivate us to all the more deny any sinful people-pleasing motives. May You enable and strengthen us to always please You alone. We praise You In Christ’s name, amen.