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March 16, 2017

Not Pleasing Ourselves

Scripture says our life should not be about pleasing ourselves but for us to please others.

Romans 15:1-3 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

A person that is selfish thinks his views are the most correct, his plans are the best, his words are the wisest, his own doings are the most excellent. He thinks he’s just a little bit better than everyone else. If a person is really humble, they will consider others are better than themselves. The whole world is about pleasing themselves.

II Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Selfish people aren’t thankful unless they get what they want and things are going their way. They murmur and complain if things aren’t going their way. As Paul says, we shouldn’t be best friends with them, but “turn away.”

The Greek word for servant is translated “slave.” A servant is under the control of another. They do whatever the master asks. Moses was a slave to God. He didn’t just think up what he did, he did whatever God told him to do.

Exodus 7:6-13 And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded…And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old…And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh…as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

God told Moses for Aaron to thrown down the rod and it would become a serpent. Pharoah’s magicians made their rods into serpents too, but Aaron’s rod that became a serpent swallow up the magicians’ rods. The apostle Paul said Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses. Egyptian history shows those were the names of Pharoah’s magicians.

II Timothy 3:8-9 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

The magicians could so some of the things that Moses did but it was through witchcraft. The magicians’ power was limited so they couldn’t do everything. In the human, there are things we don’t want to do but we submit because we will do whatever God says. The devil can work miracles so we need to make sure we keep our eyes on God.

Exodus 7:14-22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.  Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river’s brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear. Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken…

Aaron brought frogs in all the land and they were everywhere. The magicians did so too.

Exodus 8:1-7 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. And the magicians did…their enchantments, and brought up frogs…

The magicians could not bring lice to the people and everywhere by their enchantment.

Exodus 8:16-19 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

There’s a limit to what the devil can do, but he can do lying wonders. It’s important for us to know what the word of God teaches. The devil can’t save us from our sins. If the devil does a work in a person, it still leaves them in sin. We have a choice to be servants (slaves) to the devil or servants (slaves) of righteousness to God. Pharoah was relying on the magicians who helped for a while but it didn’t last. We need God to save us for lasting help to not sin.

Romans 6:15-18 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that…doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Whoever commits sin is a servant to sin, not God.

John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

We can’t stop sinning on our own but when we repent and forsake sin, we’ll be saved to be a servant of righteousness.

Romans 6:20-23 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Moses did what God told him to do even though it was unusual. Elijah didn’t think up things to do on his own, but God told him what to do. Baal was the sun god that people were worshipping. They had confidence he would send fire on the sacrifice but the devil disappointed them.

I Kings 18:21-24 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow* him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

The devil says a lot of things up front but he will never answer when there is a real need. They thought they would get their god’s attention by jumping around, crying, and cutting themselves. Our God is everywhere and available to us individually, no matter how many people need his help at any moment.

I Kings 18:25-29 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

We must repair our altar if  it is broken down by sin, bad attitudes, resentment, or unfaithfulness. If we’re murmuring or complaining about someone, it is the one complaining that has a problem. Our prayers will be hindered because we have a bad attitude of fault finding. We need to repent of it so our altar will be in good order.

I Kings 18:30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.

The area all around and under the altar was drenched with 12 barrels of water even though it was a drought.

I Kings 18:31-35 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

God told Elijah what to do and he repeated it to God. and that he was serving the same God as of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. God is still God and we need to be his servants for him to get glory.

I Kings 18:36-40  And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Elijah did what he did because God said to do and because he had a burden for souls. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, there’s nothing else left for selfishness.

Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Daniel and his friends were serving God with all their hearts. We find Daniel praying with his window open when he was president and his enemies got the king to make a decree to not make a petition to anyone except the king. He was praying for God’s help, not to hurt his enemies.

 

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)