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Pilgrimtozion
Jan 7th 2011, 06:22 PM
A little while ago, our pastor preached on the gift of Jesus Christ, emphasizing in a very original way that it is really impossible to impress God. He's not impressed with my amount of prayer, He's not impressed with how wonderful the worship is that I lead, He's not impressed with my exceptional attitude towards my wife, and He's not impressed with my behavior in general. The only thing that impresses God is the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The reason that He's not impressed by all our stuff is the fact that everything we have is a gift from Him. Not only is our forgiveness and the eternal life a gift, that good behavior I display is also really a gift from Him - it's not like I can boast in it. The fact that I even pray is a gift from God - cannot boast in that either. And the Presence of God in worship is not something I can pat myself on the back for either, since God is the one who decided to show up.

This leads to a familiar dilemma about the free gift versus the human will. If I cannot bring anything to God at all that impresses Him and everything I have is a gift and there is nothing that I can boast in, then there is essentially nothing of me in this equation other than the sin that I had. The deal was I had the sin, God took it away, God gave forgiveness, faith, eternal life, and really everything else...and I didn't need to do anything - even receiving the gift was a gift in itself.

If receiving the gift is not a gift, then I have something to boast about. In the whole discussion about (N)OSAS (yes, I AM starting a thread about this), that is the one thing I don't really get: if I make the choice, then why can I not boast in the fact that I made it? If I received Christ and it was up to me, then surely I can at least boast in having reached out and received the gift? At least I am better than the moron who decided to drown rather than do the wise thing that I decided to do.

No, there has to be more to predestination than just a word on a few pages in my Bible. Everything we have as Christians is given by God - if we abandon that principle, we find ourselves on a slippery slope down to salvation by works. I acknowledge I have a free will and see that throughout Scripture, but we have to make sure that we know - what we have is a free gift given by Jesus Christ.

And that just opened a can of worms. Cause if we don't see healings now because I lack faith but faith is a gift from God, why doesn't God give me more faith? And if I decide to have more faith, can I then not take credit for at least enabling the healing to take place? If revival happens because His people pray but His people aren't praying enough, then do I need to pray more for revival to happen? Should I not play the Wii anymore, watch no more movies, and just read my Bible, pray, and do outreach all the time? And if I make that decision, then why can I not take credit for it? After all, I did it while you didn't? But who is to blame if it's all God giving anyway? You cannot blame me for not having something that wasn't given to me. And you cannot blame me for not meeting the standards to receive His gift since it's all a gift anyway - surely I cannot make anything happen, or else I would be able to take credit for it!

You see where this is going? Though I may sound confused, I am not. I just loved the fresh reminder that everything is a gift from God. I grew up in an environment where all too often, God's grace and favor was underemphasized and my works and my holiness and my efforts were overemphasized.

Thank God for His indescribable GIFT!!

-SEEKING-
Jan 7th 2011, 06:38 PM
This is a great post my friend. Had it been in the battle I surely would have given you 10 points for it.

And you're absolutely right, it ALL comes from God. There is absolutely nothing we can boast about. He did it, we're just along for the ride.

crawfish
Jan 7th 2011, 07:28 PM
There was an episode of "Seinfeld" where Jerry & George were pitching their idea of a TV show about nothing. George was very pleased with this idea; every time the TV execs tried to delve a little deeper into what a show about "nothing" would entail, George would deny it. In other words, he was so intent on preserving the purity of his idea that he was avoiding the inevitable fact he would eventually have to settle on details, making his show about "something".

I see Calvinism as doing that. People are so intent on keeping a doctrine of absolute works-free grace that they avoid the inevitable issues. It sounds great in theory, but in practice it makes God a puppet master working from a script instead of a God who allows His creation to act of its own volition even when that volition is against His will. Yes, it is true, we are saved by God's grace alone, and there is nothing we can do to earn it. No, there is no decision or act of obedience that can save you. However, God is the one who has allowed us the choice; we do it because we are finally submitting to God's plan and not fighting it. We are obedient because to be part of God's kingdom is to do God's will.

In other words, I am agreeing with you in as far as that goes. :)

HisLeast
Jan 7th 2011, 07:40 PM
How do we reconcile this with all the instances in the Old Testament where God was pleased with people who were faithful to him?

Vhayes
Jan 7th 2011, 07:42 PM
We are saved by grace through faith - unto good works. Of COURSE it makes God happy when we are faithful to Him. I'll bet you made your dad happy when you were a dutiful son - regardless, you were always his son, even when he made you eat your peas.

14390876
Jan 7th 2011, 08:24 PM
A little while ago, our pastor preached on the gift of Jesus Christ, emphasizing in a very original way that it is really impossible to impress God. He's not impressed with my amount of prayer, He's not impressed with how wonderful the worship is that I lead, He's not impressed with my exceptional attitude towards my wife, and He's not impressed with my behavior in general. The only thing that impresses God is the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The reason that He's not impressed by all our stuff is the fact that everything we have is a gift from Him. Not only is our forgiveness and the eternal life a gift, that good behavior I display is also really a gift from Him - it's not like I can boast in it. The fact that I even pray is a gift from God - cannot boast in that either. And the Presence of God in worship is not something I can pat myself on the back for either, since God is the one who decided to show up.

This leads to a familiar dilemma about the free gift versus the human will. If I cannot bring anything to God at all that impresses Him and everything I have is a gift and there is nothing that I can boast in, then there is essentially nothing of me in this equation other than the sin that I had. The deal was I had the sin, God took it away, God gave forgiveness, faith, eternal life, and really everything else...and I didn't need to do anything - even receiving the gift was a gift in itself.

If receiving the gift is not a gift, then I have something to boast about. In the whole discussion about (N)OSAS (yes, I AM starting a thread about this), that is the one thing I don't really get: if I make the choice, then why can I not boast in the fact that I made it? If I received Christ and it was up to me, then surely I can at least boast in having reached out and received the gift? At least I am better than the moron who decided to drown rather than do the wise thing that I decided to do.

No, there has to be more to predestination than just a word on a few pages in my Bible. Everything we have as Christians is given by God - if we abandon that principle, we find ourselves on a slippery slope down to salvation by works. I acknowledge I have a free will and see that throughout Scripture, but we have to make sure that we know - what we have is a free gift given by Jesus Christ.

And that just opened a can of worms. Cause if we don't see healings now because I lack faith but faith is a gift from God, why doesn't God give me more faith? And if I decide to have more faith, can I then not take credit for at least enabling the healing to take place? If revival happens because His people pray but His people aren't praying enough, then do I need to pray more for revival to happen? Should I not play the Wii anymore, watch no more movies, and just read my Bible, pray, and do outreach all the time? And if I make that decision, then why can I not take credit for it? After all, I did it while you didn't? But who is to blame if it's all God giving anyway? You cannot blame me for not having something that wasn't given to me. And you cannot blame me for not meeting the standards to receive His gift since it's all a gift anyway - surely I cannot make anything happen, or else I would be able to take credit for it!

You see where this is going? Though I may sound confused, I am not. I just loved the fresh reminder that everything is a gift from God. I grew up in an environment where all too often, God's grace and favor was underemphasized and my works and my holiness and my efforts were overemphasized.

Thank God for His indescribable GIFT!!

by in large i agree with you. I dont see why calvinism and freewill cant both be valid. So your explanation is quite correct. However, although i don't think we can 'impress' God in the sense that we could rise above His expectations, because He already knows exactly what we are capable of. But i do believe God can be (and often is) pleased with us since we do ultimatly have a choice about if we will do what He tells us. Why else would He hand out rewards?

Doge
Jan 7th 2011, 08:28 PM
The way I see it is that God has given us free will and put before us the choices to obey or not His will though these choices.
That is you do the choosing though trial and struggle He does the rest ..when you choose His will God is pleased ..impressed is a strong word.
I've heard some say He has to choose you before you choose Him that is true in that He has chosen all regardless of who will choose Him.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 7th 2011, 08:43 PM
The way I see it is that God has given us free will and put before us the choices to obey or not His will though these choices.
That is you do the choosing though trial and struggle He does the rest ..when you choose His will God is pleased ..impressed is a strong word.
I've heard some say He has to choose you before you choose Him that is true in that He has chosen all regardless of who will choose Him.

Wouldn't you have something to boast in then? I mean, hey at laest you made the choice where others didn't. Good for you - gold star!

Servant89
Jan 7th 2011, 10:11 PM
A You see where this is going? Though I may sound confused, I am not. I just loved the fresh reminder that everything is a gift from God. I grew up in an environment where all too often, God's grace and favor was underemphasized and my works and my holiness and my efforts were overemphasized.

Thank God for His indescribable GIFT!!

Definetively, the last area we want to try to impress God is with our righteousness... wrong road to take. However, faith (or lack of faith in extremes) gets his attention...

Mt 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Mk 6:6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Lk 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

I think God has a wallet with a picture of you in it, and he boasts about you in heaven.

Acts 13:22 ... I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Lk 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Shalom

P.S. And I think he was particularly impressed (in a positive way) with these men ...

Mk 7:36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

Doge
Jan 7th 2011, 11:27 PM
Wouldn't you have something to boast in then? I mean, hey at laest you made the choice where others didn't. Good for you - gold star!

To answer your question I'll have to know why some choose God and others don't... what governs free will..I thank you for the gold star tho .. tho its unchristian to boast.

But let me share my thoughts some more .. i think free will is governed by us.. well doh.. what i mean by that is little by little we can feed the good or bad nature in us.. salavation is not one choice deal .. we have to slowly build our character.
How bad traits start.. slowly one bad deed at a time .. how does God save us.. by having faith in God.. He takes us as we are then what does He do...He chastises us to build us up... What do we have in Jesus .. or sins payed for that at anytime we can turn to Him to become sons of God and our past will not hinder us.. Without Him we have nothing.
So ultimately it comes down to choice before you is death and life .. pick one.

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 01:41 PM
I think we load things when using words like "trying to impress". While I am sure there are those that do certain things as if that in some way impresses God (a foolish notion) I cannot imagine why one wouldn't do all that you know to please God. In that sense it might sound like someone is trying to "impress" God but that's quite different. Unfortunately... we jump all over the place with the whole "it has nothing to do with me" because if it does then I "have something to boast about" and that's where I think folks get into a nothing short of religious speak that sounds all cool and whatnot... but it really says nothing.

If it is NOTHING about you then even when you screw up you must also say that God was behind that as well and my screwing up is as well a gift from God. Naturally folks don't want to go there so it just shows the logic is somewhat skewed.

Brother Mark
Jan 8th 2011, 01:50 PM
Rom 11:36
36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
NASU

Interesting post Pilgrim and amen for the most part. We can neither impress God nor can we disappoint him. We can please Him however. He speaks and His word generates faith in us and with faith, we please Him.

moonglow
Jan 8th 2011, 04:18 PM
I think we load things when using words like "trying to impress". While I am sure there are those that do certain things as if that in some way impresses God (a foolish notion) I cannot imagine why one wouldn't do all that you know to please God. In that sense it might sound like someone is trying to "impress" God but that's quite different. Unfortunately... we jump all over the place with the whole "it has nothing to do with me" because if it does then I "have something to boast about" and that's where I think folks get into a nothing short of religious speak that sounds all cool and whatnot... but it really says nothing.

If it is NOTHING about you then even when you screw up you must also say that God was behind that as well and my screwing up is as well a gift from God. Naturally folks don't want to go there so it just shows the logic is somewhat skewed.

I have to agree with PP on this...using the word, impress, isn't correct...'please' is. Yes we can please God...and yes we can grieve His spirit...

Romans 8:7-9 (New King James Version)

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Ephesians 4:29-31 (New King James Version)

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

We need to be looking at this as a relationship...and God sees it as we are adopted into His family....He also compares our relationship to Christ as a wedding vow...a contract in which two parties agree to unite. When a child is adopted a legal agreement comes into play and is signed by a judge. When a couple go to marry they have to sign the legal papers as does someone with authority...a judge or a pastor has to sign it too to making it binding. The Lord offers us His terms...that He will/has pay our full debt in sin...we can enter into that contact "Call on the Lord and you will be saved" (Romans 10:13)...which requires an action by us. I don't consider this 'works' though because we aren't working..we are agreeing with the contact...accepting it. The Lord did the work...we just agree and accept the work He did on our behalf. So no we cannot boast about it.

Hope that makes sense!

God bless

Brother Mark
Jan 8th 2011, 04:22 PM
The pastor was preaching against trying to impress God. Isn't that a worthwhile message? Can there be a ditch in that? Sure. He was just preaching against one ditch. The other side has a ditch too which would be not to try to please him.

notuptome
Jan 8th 2011, 04:44 PM
What was lost in the garden? Innocense. The fruit eaten was the knowledge of good and evil. God does not seek impressive devotion only stewards that are faithful. Those who brag the most often are the least productive servants. Something about a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

Jesus said that men are not saved because they love darkness rather than light. Knowing good from evil and choosing evil. John 3:19-20

If we could impress God it would be by how much of ourselves we are able to yield to His control. Dead to self and alive to Christ.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

moonglow
Jan 8th 2011, 04:50 PM
The pastor was preaching against trying to impress God. Isn't that a worthwhile message? Can there be a ditch in that? Sure. He was just preaching against one ditch. The other side has a ditch too which would be not to try to please him.

Actually I have never ever heard of anyone trying to impress God...I have heard of people trying to impress other people though and there is alot of scriptures on that. I mean how could anyone begin to 'impress' our Creator?
:hmm: Maybe its the word, impress, that is throwing me off and I am not getting it...


God bless

crawfish
Jan 8th 2011, 05:07 PM
Actually I have never ever heard of anyone trying to impress God...I have heard of people trying to impress other people though and there is alot of scriptures on that. I mean how could anyone begin to 'impress' our Creator?
:hmm: Maybe its the word, impress, that is throwing me off and I am not getting it...


God bless

Right...there seems to be some ambiguity between impressing God and pleasing God.

VerticalReality
Jan 8th 2011, 05:09 PM
I don't know anyone trying to impress God. When I read about the Pharisees, I don't think they were trying to impress God, and the Pharisee type is generally what people are referring to when they say we cannot impress God by what we do. The Pharisees were not trying to impress God with their works. I honestly don't think they could have cared less what God thought. They were trying to impress themselves. That's what self-righteousness is all about.

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 05:19 PM
Right...there seems to be some ambiguity between impressing God and pleasing God.

Right... which we are told to do everything we can do to please God. Yet the person that does this will be labeled by many as trying to impress God. Ultimately... it's just religious speak gone wrong. :lol:

Thing is... the person that boast is the boaster. The person that goes about to please God is not a boaster what with boasting not being something pleasing to God.

Then there are those that make an example using some of the things that they've done or accomplished. This raises the ire of many as if they just committed some horrible sin and yet we know, reading Scripture, that Paul often did just that very thing to make a point. It ain't always bad nor should be seen as bad.
I'll harp on it until the cows come home... we've made such a fine art out of religious speak that we're making a mockery out of Scripture and the Christ we're supposed to serve.

The word impress implies force and or gain by means of doing something for something and yet much of the description here is folks doing things pleasing... it's out of line with the meaning of the word.

notuptome
Jan 8th 2011, 05:27 PM
Right...there seems to be some ambiguity between impressing God and pleasing God.
Like those who think they can be sinless?

For the cause of Christ
Roger

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 05:29 PM
Like those who think they can be sinless?

For the cause of Christ
RogerDon't you strive for that Roger?

Brother Mark
Jan 8th 2011, 05:43 PM
People try all the time to impress God. That's why folks think their works make them justified in his sight. Works are a result of faith and we are to strive to please him. But it is not our works that make us accepted. The folks in Matt 7 thought their works were impressive enough to get them into heaven, but they were not.

Sometimes trying to impress God shows up in those that never think they are "good enough". Instead of accepting God's offer, they think they have to repent more, believe more, work harder, etc. until they "feel" accepted. Is that not trying to impress God?

notuptome
Jan 8th 2011, 05:43 PM
Don't you strive for that Roger?
Certainly but I can never attain it in this body of flesh. 2 Cor 4:7

Jas 1:13-15 Confession keeps sin from finishing its work of death.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

Brother Mark
Jan 8th 2011, 05:45 PM
Certainly but I can never attain it in this body of flesh. 2 Cor 4:7

Jas 1:13-15 Confession keeps sin from finishing its work of death.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

Is the power of sin in you greater than the power of God in you?

Mark F
Jan 8th 2011, 06:45 PM
To impress Him, wouldn't you have to do something He can't? Or exceed an expectation that He has of you? Frankly I can't see how that would be possible. I don't think we would agree with Him that we are lost and need a Savior unless His Holy Spirit did not tell us in the first place.

I immeadiately thought of contrite when I read the OP, how then could we impress or entertain the thought of it?


Isaiah 57:15
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “ I dwell in the high and holy place,With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 66:2
For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “ But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

crawfish
Jan 8th 2011, 06:48 PM
Like those who think they can be sinless?

For the cause of Christ
Roger

I don't follow...

crawfish
Jan 8th 2011, 07:01 PM
People try all the time to impress God. That's why folks think their works make them justified in his sight. Works are a result of faith and we are to strive to please him. But it is not our works that make us accepted. The folks in Matt 7 thought their works were impressive enough to get them into heaven, but they were not.

Sometimes trying to impress God shows up in those that never think they are "good enough". Instead of accepting God's offer, they think they have to repent more, believe more, work harder, etc. until they "feel" accepted. Is that not trying to impress God?

When my son does what I ask, it pleases me. Recently, my oldest son wrote an essay that I know was far beyond what I was capable at his age; I was impressed by him.

I can't imagine that I can possibly impress God, but I strive daily to please him. Striking to do His will isn't something that I'm doing to make him feel I'm worth saving; it's me living up to the expectations that He has of me as part of His kingdom.

Brother Mark
Jan 8th 2011, 07:05 PM
When my son does what I ask, it pleases me. Recently, my oldest son wrote an essay that I know was far beyond what I was capable at his age; I was impressed by him.

I can't imagine that I can possibly impress God, but I strive daily to please him. Striking to do His will isn't something that I'm doing to make him feel I'm worth saving; it's me living up to the expectations that He has of me as part of His kingdom.

And that is proper perspective, IMO. Being impressed or disappointed go to expectations. Since God can see the future, his expectations are neither exceeded, nor do we go fail to reach them. However, we can fall short of the grace given to us and not please him. Or we can fulfill what we are called to do and please him. And we can do all in between those two sentences as well.

divaD
Jan 8th 2011, 07:31 PM
The Pharisees were not trying to impress God with their works. I honestly don't think they could have cared less what God thought. They were trying to impress themselves. That's what self-righteousness is all about.


Looking at the verse below, wouldn't fasting twice a week, and giving tithes be works? And wasn't the Pharisee below praying this to God? So would this work then? The Pharisees were trying to impress God with their self righteousness? Why did they even pray to God at all if they couldn't care less what He thought, and weren't trying to impress Him with themselves?

Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 08:43 PM
Certainly but I can never attain it in this body of flesh. 2 Cor 4:7

Jas 1:13-15 Confession keeps sin from finishing its work of death.

For the cause of Christ
RogerSounds like you do an awful lot in vain then... I mean seriously... if your attitude is that I'm striving to do something that I can never do then I assure you that you ain't striving all that hard for it. ;)

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 08:46 PM
Is the power of sin in you greater than the power of God in you?
That's absolutely it in a nutshell Mark. We give sin ALL power and the Spirit of God in us can do an awful lot but He is limited because of our flesh. In short... our flesh is more powerful than God Himself. I know that is not the most comfortable thought for folks but danged if that ain't what folks not only say... they believe it too.

With God... I declare that all things are possible when it comes to God in me. Even getting to that place where I might never sin again.

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 08:47 PM
When my son does what I ask, it pleases me. Recently, my oldest son wrote an essay that I know was far beyond what I was capable at his age; I was impressed by him.

I can't imagine that I can possibly impress God, but I strive daily to please him. Striking to do His will isn't something that I'm doing to make him feel I'm worth saving; it's me living up to the expectations that He has of me as part of His kingdom.That's it exactly.

Servant89
Jan 8th 2011, 08:56 PM
That's absolutely it in a nutshell Mark. We give sin ALL power and the Spirit of God in us can do an awful lot but He is limited because of our flesh. In short... our flesh is more powerful than God Himself. I know that is not the most comfortable thought for folks but danged if that ain't what folks not only say... they believe it too.

With God... I declare that all things are possible when it comes to God in me. Even getting to that place where I might never sin again.

... it is not the flesh. The problem is the soul, who we are. God has never given us a tempetation that is too strong for us to handle. We fail because we want to give in.

1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

That is the problem, we spend more time feeding the flesh than we spend feeding the Spirit. Jesus spent entire nights praying while the disciples slept.

Shalom

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 09:00 PM
... it is not the flesh. The problem is the soul, who we are. God has never given us a tempetation that is too strong for us to handle. We fail because we want to give in.

1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

That is the problem, we spend more time feeding the flesh than we spend feeding the Spirit. Jesus spent entire nights praying while the disciples slept.

Shalom

For those that think the flesh has more power than God... I agree. :)

Servant89
Jan 8th 2011, 09:10 PM
For those that think the flesh has more power than God... I agree. :)

When it come to power to influence my behavior... hmmm, I have to agree with you. You are right PP. But it is all my fault, I donot blame my flesh.

Ps 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

1 Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

That is why the 3 Hebrew children in the furnace of fire overcame, because God is indeed greater than our flesh.

Dan 3:27 (http://webnet77.com/cgi-bin/bible/bible.cgi?BIBLE=48&BOOK=27&CHAP=3&SEARCH=jesus king lord&Read=Read&FIRST=OK&HV=27) And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Shalom

ProjectPeter
Jan 8th 2011, 09:46 PM
Okay... I'm not blaming the flesh either. Hence my point. ;)

VerticalReality
Jan 8th 2011, 11:08 PM
Looking at the verse below, wouldn't fasting twice a week, and giving tithes be works? And wasn't the Pharisee below praying this to God? So would this work then? The Pharisees were trying to impress God with their self righteousness? Why did they even pray to God at all if they couldn't care less what He thought, and weren't trying to impress Him with themselves?

Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

No, I don't think that Pharisee was praying anything to God. That is why it says, "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself." He wasn't praying trying to communicate with God. He was praying to himself.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 12th 2011, 05:28 PM
I think we load things when using words like "trying to impress". While I am sure there are those that do certain things as if that in some way impresses God (a foolish notion) I cannot imagine why one wouldn't do all that you know to please God. In that sense it might sound like someone is trying to "impress" God but that's quite different. Unfortunately... we jump all over the place with the whole "it has nothing to do with me" because if it does then I "have something to boast about" and that's where I think folks get into a nothing short of religious speak that sounds all cool and whatnot... but it really says nothing.

It certainly does say a whole lot. It tells me that lots of people walk around with the mistaken notion that they need to impress God with their worship, their prayer, their actions, their attitudes. It tells me that many, many people do not have a proper understanding of the grace and favor of God that is poured out on those who are forgiven and have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that many are trying to impress God is a testimony to the fact that as preachers and as Christians, we have missed the most important point in preaching: God is not looking for your actions, worship, prayer, or anything like that - He is looking for your heart.

So yes, PP, saying that 'it has nothing to do with me' is certainly a statement that means something. It means that just like salvation is by grace through - it is a gift from God - so also sanctification is a gift by grace through faith. If this is not the bedrock of any teaching on holiness, you get people who are going to think they can impress God with their amount of prayer, their ascetic lifestyle, or the work they do for the church. We have a desperate need in our churches for a proper understanding of the unmerited favor of God through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ - a gift from God, that we might not boast. (Paul's words, mind you, not mine)

ProjectPeter
Jan 12th 2011, 08:38 PM
It certainly does say a whole lot. It tells me that lots of people walk around with the mistaken notion that they need to impress God with their worship, their prayer, their actions, their attitudes. It tells me that many, many people do not have a proper understanding of the grace and favor of God that is poured out on those who are forgiven and have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that many are trying to impress God is a testimony to the fact that as preachers and as Christians, we have missed the most important point in preaching: God is not looking for your actions, worship, prayer, or anything like that - He is looking for your heart.

So yes, PP, saying that 'it has nothing to do with me' is certainly a statement that means something. It means that just like salvation is by grace through - it is a gift from God - so also sanctification is a gift by grace through faith. If this is not the bedrock of any teaching on holiness, you get people who are going to think they can impress God with their amount of prayer, their ascetic lifestyle, or the work they do for the church. We have a desperate need in our churches for a proper understanding of the unmerited favor of God through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ - a gift from God, that we might not boast. (Paul's words, mind you, not mine)

The people that think they can impress God with anything... those are people that don't know God at all. But again... take "you" out of any of this and the recipe is still screwed up. Everyone MUST do all that they can do to PLEASE God. There lies the difference and MANY in this thread are even discounting that biblical fact and injunction. What you describe is salvation. Nothing we can do is going to merit that save by the grace of God and that is a fact no doubt (that's actually what Paul's words are speaking about) but our deeds and actions are to be done with the goal of PLEASING God. If WE aren't doing htat then WE are in a mess.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 12th 2011, 09:06 PM
The people that think they can impress God with anything... those are people that don't know God at all. But again... take "you" out of any of this and the recipe is still screwed up. Everyone MUST do all that they can do to PLEASE God. There lies the difference and MANY in this thread are even discounting that biblical fact and injunction. What you describe is salvation. Nothing we can do is going to merit that save by the grace of God and that is a fact no doubt (that's actually what Paul's words are speaking about) but our deeds and actions are to be done with the goal of PLEASING God. If WE aren't doing htat then WE are in a mess.

So what do you do when somebody isn't pleasing God? Tell them they need to be pleasing God?

John146
Jan 12th 2011, 09:15 PM
A little while ago, our pastor preached on the gift of Jesus Christ, emphasizing in a very original way that it is really impossible to impress God. He's not impressed with my amount of prayer, He's not impressed with how wonderful the worship is that I lead, He's not impressed with my exceptional attitude towards my wife, and He's not impressed with my behavior in general. The only thing that impresses God is the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The reason that He's not impressed by all our stuff is the fact that everything we have is a gift from Him. Not only is our forgiveness and the eternal life a gift, that good behavior I display is also really a gift from Him - it's not like I can boast in it. The fact that I even pray is a gift from God - cannot boast in that either. And the Presence of God in worship is not something I can pat myself on the back for either, since God is the one who decided to show up.

This leads to a familiar dilemma about the free gift versus the human will. If I cannot bring anything to God at all that impresses Him and everything I have is a gift and there is nothing that I can boast in, then there is essentially nothing of me in this equation other than the sin that I had. The deal was I had the sin, God took it away, God gave forgiveness, faith, eternal life, and really everything else...and I didn't need to do anything - even receiving the gift was a gift in itself.

If receiving the gift is not a gift, then I have something to boast about. In the whole discussion about (N)OSAS (yes, I AM starting a thread about this), that is the one thing I don't really get: if I make the choice, then why can I not boast in the fact that I made it?Because it's a choice that requires one to humble themselves by acknowledging that he or she is a sinner and that Jesus is Lord. If someone humbles themselves to do that why would they then turn around and boast about it? That would make no sense.


If I received Christ and it was up to me, then surely I can at least boast in having reached out and received the gift?Why would you boast if you received the gift humbly as God requires?


At least I am better than the moron who decided to drown rather than do the wise thing that I decided to do.This is a flawed perspective. Anyone who would try to receive Christ this way would not be saved because they are not humbling themselves. Read Luke 18:9-14. What you described here is the attitude of the Pharisee in that parable. He thought he could be saved by being righteous and he thought he was better than everyone else and didn't recognize that he wasn't righteous and was instead a sinner in need of God's mercy and forgiveness. In contrast to that, God requires one to humble themselves like the publican did. God requires people to humble themselves in order to be saved. So, it simply does not add up to suggest that someone would have reason to boast if they decided on their own volition to humble themselves as God requires.


No, there has to be more to predestination than just a word on a few pages in my Bible. Everything we have as Christians is given by God - if we abandon that principle, we find ourselves on a slippery slope down to salvation by works. I acknowledge I have a free will and see that throughout Scripture, but we have to make sure that we know - what we have is a free gift given by Jesus Christ.A free gift that God requires people to accept.


And that just opened a can of worms. Cause if we don't see healings now because I lack faith but faith is a gift from God, why doesn't God give me more faith? And if I decide to have more faith, can I then not take credit for at least enabling the healing to take place? If revival happens because His people pray but His people aren't praying enough, then do I need to pray more for revival to happen? Should I not play the Wii anymore, watch no more movies, and just read my Bible, pray, and do outreach all the time? And if I make that decision, then why can I not take credit for it? After all, I did it while you didn't? But who is to blame if it's all God giving anyway? You cannot blame me for not having something that wasn't given to me. And you cannot blame me for not meeting the standards to receive His gift since it's all a gift anyway - surely I cannot make anything happen, or else I would be able to take credit for it!

You see where this is going? Though I may sound confused, I am not. I just loved the fresh reminder that everything is a gift from God. I grew up in an environment where all too often, God's grace and favor was underemphasized and my works and my holiness and my efforts were overemphasized.

Thank God for His indescribable GIFT!!While it may be true that His grace and favor are sometimes underemphasized it's a mistake to go to the other extreme by underemphasizing man's responsibility before God.

ProjectPeter
Jan 12th 2011, 09:16 PM
So what do you do when somebody isn't pleasing God? Tell them they need to be pleasing God?

Sure... that is in fact what Scripture says. Why would you tell them otherwise?

1 Corinthians 7:32 *But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;
33 *but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,
34 *and his interests are divided. And the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
35 *And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.


2 Corinthians 5:9 *Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
10 *For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Ephesians 5:6 *Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 *Therefore do not be partakers with them;
8 *for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light
9 *(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
10 *trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 *And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
12 *for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
13 *But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

And the rest of that letter pretty much shares how to be pleasing to God... etc

Colossians 1:9 *¶For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 *so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 *strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
12 *giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

1 Thessalonians 2:1 *For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,
2 *but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.
3 *For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;
4 *but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 4:1 *Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.
2 *For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 *For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 *that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 *not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 *and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
7 *For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.
8 *Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.


There is much more if you need but I should hope this enough to make the point. The letters are constantly filled with reference to how we are to do what we do to PLEASE God. Mind you... not impress... no man is going to impress God as I stated earlier because that implies we in some way "force" God to save us by what we do. That's silly and totally contrary to Scripture. But then much of what has been described in this thread isn't speaking of salvation... it is speaking of what we do after salvation and if what you do ain't pleasing to God... you've got issues that are liable to effect that eternal abode. No man is "saved" so they can go and be displeasing to God.

Brother Mark
Jan 12th 2011, 09:21 PM
The people that think they can impress God with anything... those are people that don't know God at all. But again... take "you" out of any of this and the recipe is still screwed up. Everyone MUST do all that they can do to PLEASE God. There lies the difference and MANY in this thread are even discounting that biblical fact and injunction. What you describe is salvation. Nothing we can do is going to merit that save by the grace of God and that is a fact no doubt (that's actually what Paul's words are speaking about) but our deeds and actions are to be done with the goal of PLEASING God. If WE aren't doing htat then WE are in a mess.

Motive is everything though. That's why I think the message is a decent one. If we obey from the heart, with a desire to please God, that is different than obeying in action, hoping to win his approval or acceptance. My personal opinion is that folks that know they are accepted by God (i.e. have faith) will do things to please Him. Those that wonder if they are accepted or not, do things to gain approval. Those are two separate issues and are related because one is based in faith while the other is not.

A child does things to please the parent because the parents pleasure is important to the child. Not so much because the child is unaccepted. How we preach the message of pleasing God can make a difference in how one responds.

Just throwing something out for conversation and thought.

moonglow
Jan 12th 2011, 09:22 PM
It certainly does say a whole lot. It tells me that lots of people walk around with the mistaken notion that they need to impress God with their worship, their prayer, their actions, their attitudes. It tells me that many, many people do not have a proper understanding of the grace and favor of God that is poured out on those who are forgiven and have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that many are trying to impress God is a testimony to the fact that as preachers and as Christians, we have missed the most important point in preaching: God is not looking for your actions, worship, prayer, or anything like that - He is looking for your heart.

So yes, PP, saying that 'it has nothing to do with me' is certainly a statement that means something. It means that just like salvation is by grace through - it is a gift from God - so also sanctification is a gift by grace through faith. If this is not the bedrock of any teaching on holiness, you get people who are going to think they can impress God with their amount of prayer, their ascetic lifestyle, or the work they do for the church. We have a desperate need in our churches for a proper understanding of the unmerited favor of God through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ - a gift from God, that we might not boast. (Paul's words, mind you, not mine)

Those people..like the Pharisees are trying to impress others though...not God.

Matthew 6
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

How can anyone begin to impress our God that created this:

http://www.thetechherald.com/media/images/200902/milkyway_4.jpg

To me that makes no sense to even attempt to impressed God. That would be like an ant trying to impress us...:hmm: Its not only impossible, its delusional...

Those that do a million things in a church like you mentioned might be doing it for any number of reasons...out of guilt for their sins...trying to make up for them..(not understanding the grace of God)..doing it because they truly love the church and its members and want to be a servant...those that do it because no one else will and are burnt out and tired but keep doing it anyway.(which is 99% of them actually)....those that are truly doing it to impress the members of the church. I am sure there are other reasons...but gosh if anyone is doing this with some twisted completely unrealistic idea of who God is that they think they can impress Him, they don't know God at all then. And I just haven't encountered that many people having this attitude...in fact I haven't encountered anyone like this at all.

I can't even wrap my mind around this idea because its so far fetched and unrealistic. :confused And I have meant alot of really strange people in my life but not one thought they could impress God..not even the delusional ones. :hmm:

I have never heard this in a sermon either actually and I have head alot of them because I also listen to the Christian radio station...so I get alot more then just once a week sermon.



ProjectPeter
The people that think they can impress God with anything... those are people that don't know God at all. But again... take "you" out of any of this and the recipe is still screwed up. Everyone MUST do all that they can do to PLEASE God. There lies the difference and MANY in this thread are even discounting that biblical fact and injunction. What you describe is salvation. Nothing we can do is going to merit that save by the grace of God and that is a fact no doubt (that's actually what Paul's words are speaking about) but our deeds and actions are to be done with the goal of PLEASING God. If WE aren't doing htat then WE are in a mess.

The word pleasing God is actually in the bible. I happen to agree with ProjectPeter this..it seems to be a confusion with impressing and pleasing God here. There are no scriptures about impressing God nor warnings of not trying to impress Him...probably because everyone knows that is impossible. Its just not even addressed in scripture that I know of...:hmm:

I did find this in the New Living bible translation:

Philippians 2:3
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves

But pleasing God is addressed many times.

The Luke 18 passage people keep bringing up..if you read the end of it you know this man wasn't really Pharisee to God or trying to impress God:

9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Pharisee was simply trying to make himself look good to anyone listening by putting down others...:rolleyes: He was exalting himself is all he was doing.

God bless

John146
Jan 12th 2011, 09:28 PM
So what do you do when somebody isn't pleasing God? Tell them they need to be pleasing God?Absolutely. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). So, we need to tell somebody who isn't pleasing God that they need to humble themselves and put their faith in Christ and submit to God's will because that is what God requires and that is the way to please Him.

Brother Mark
Jan 12th 2011, 09:35 PM
I am going to share a little testimony here on pleasing God.

I grew up in a strict church... no shorts, no pants for women, etc. etc. etc. Lots of condemnation (from my perspective). I almost totally walked away from the whole God thing in my 20s. I was lost, no doubt about it. But (I won't share the details here) I did get saved. The only thing that changed immediately was I believed God and believed the bible. I had peace on the inside too. But I was in deep, deep sin. The next thing that changed was I went to a new church. God was dealing with me but I was just feeling my way around.

I was saved in Nov. In Feb, I went to a mens conference. It was there that God did a mighty work in me! But before he ever set me free of a major, major stronghold, he said something interesting to me. The preacher was teaching us how to hear God. I thought it was the hokiest thing I had ever heard. He said "Ask God what he thinks of you." Not only did I think it was hokie, I did NOT want to know what God thought of me. No way, no how! For some reason, I asked anyway.

Immediately, God gave me this verse .... "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." I didn't believe it. I prayed "Lord, if that's you, I need confirmation because you said that about Jesus and I know Jesus was pleasing to you." Immediately, this verse came to mind "As many as received Him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God." For the first time in my life, I felt accepted by God. I was still steeped in sin. But God accepted me. I didn't know why at the time, but I do now. He was pleased with me because I was trusting in Jesus. That pleased Him. Later that night, God set me free of a major stronghold. But he waited to set me free because he wanted to establish first, that it was my faith that pleased him far more than my performance.

When Israel was getting ready to deal with all the cities in the land, it was their lack of faith and their fear that displeased God. Those strongholds were in them when they were in Egypt. God was pleased with the generation that determined to deal with them even before they had conquered them. That is key, IMO. Are you fighting in faith, knowing God is on your side? It is faith that enables us to please God. When we believe, and know, we will walk it out even if now, we are in a place where we don't like what we see. Jericho was in me when I was saved. God was pleased with me then. When Jericho came down, God was still pleased with me. It is the refusal to deal with Jericho that is displeasing to God. It's not having a Jericho (stronghold) that is the issue with Him so much as a refusal to deal with it.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 12th 2011, 09:39 PM
Motive is everything though. That's why I think the message is a decent one. If we obey from the heart, with a desire to please God, that is different than obeying in action, hoping to win his approval or acceptance. My personal opinion is that folks that know they are accepted by God (i.e. have faith) will do things to please Him. Those that wonder if they are accepted or not, do things to gain approval. Those are two separate issues and are related because one is based in faith while the other is not.

A child does things to please the parent because the parents pleasure is important to the child. Not so much because the child is unaccepted. How we preach the message of pleasing God can make a difference in how one responds.

Just throwing something out for conversation and thought.

That is EXACTLY what I mean. I would rep you but I have to spread it around first...

ProjectPeter
Jan 12th 2011, 09:44 PM
Problem is though... if I had a simple dime for every person that hollers motive and they still continue day in and day out in their sin... all the while letting you know how "I really don't want to do it but just can't stop.".... "or I do really love the Lord, I just don't know... I do this and that and the next thing you know......... " And their life is so totally contrary to pleasing God and anything Scriptural... and yet many will tell them... "as long as you are sorry and believe in Jesus then you're pleasing to God."

That's a wonderful thing to hear... but it ain't the truth according to Scripture and that person is going to be in some stink. Call it legalism if you want... still the biblical truth and one day we'll certainly run smack dab into that truth.

ProjectPeter
Jan 12th 2011, 10:06 PM
My bad... there is a new tool for mod's that has a "close thread" feature and unfortunately... it's a check box but if you click anywhere in line with that box... you close the thread. Naturally... the post button is right below that line and we hit it now and again and don't catch it until someone PM's us! :lol:

Brother Mark
Jan 12th 2011, 10:13 PM
Problem is though... if I had a simple dime for every person that hollers motive and they still continue day in and day out in their sin... all the while letting you know how "I really don't want to do it but just can't stop.".... "or I do really love the Lord, I just don't know... I do this and that and the next thing you know......... " And their life is so totally contrary to pleasing God and anything Scriptural... and yet many will tell them... "as long as you are sorry and believe in Jesus then you're pleasing to God."

That's a wonderful thing to hear... but it ain't the truth according to Scripture and that person is going to be in some stink. Call it legalism if you want... still the biblical truth and one day we'll certainly run smack dab into that truth.

I would agree that it is twisted from the truth.

I think where it gets all messed up is we don't think in terms of maturing anymore. For instance, what a baby can do to please me is vastly different than what a 10 year old can do to please me. A baby will poop and eat and be all kinds of trouble. But when it just smiles and coos, I am pleased.

1 John says that little children should rejoice that there sins are forgiven. That's a pretty good standard for babes, IMO. Thing is, if someone never grows, there's a faith issue and a heart issue. If one does believe God, they will do what they believe. That's the lesson of James. IMO, we sometimes have things backwards in our country. We preach do first and receive second. I think the person who starts out poor in spirit, doesn't remain there. But poor in spirit doesn't mean license to sin nor does it mean a victim mentality. It does mean recognizing our hopelessness outside of grace, whether that is for salvation or good works. But if we believe, then we do. Doing, is a result of belief and acceptance, not the other way around.

Said another way....

The strongholds of Jericho and Ai were in the land when Israel came out of Egypt, just as strongholds of anger, lying, etc. can be in the heart when one gets saved. God may not deal that right away because a youngster is not ready for warfare. But if at the right time, one refuses to go to war, God will get very angry and make promises in His wrath that the believer will not be happy about. Life and God have a way of maturing us. God is patient with children while they camp around Ai and learn about Him. But in a few years, when he says "Let's take Jericho", the answer better not be "It's too big for me".