Who Does Your Religion Please?
There are only three possible answers.

Why do people do what they do?
We should be particularly interested when it comes to why people do what they do in matters of religion.
Why do people join a particular denomination, why is this person a Catholic, another a Baptist and yet another a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon?
God's Word speaks to the different motivations that men might have in practicing different forms of religion.
Paul asks the question of religious motivation in writing to the Christians of Galatia, "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
Not all who are religious have the right motivation.
The wrong motivation to be religious leads to religious error.
The right motivation in religion is necessary for one to be right in his religion.
Let’s look at the three possible answers.
Who does your religion please?

Who Does Your Religion Please?
There are many who are "religious" to please others.
Perhaps they belong to a particular church because they are trying to please their parents or grandparents, their children, their husband or wife, good friends or their clients or their boss.
King Ahab sought to please his wife in his religion. "But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up" (1 Kings 21:25).
Here are some things I have seen.
One man left the Roman Catholic church for the Church of Christ to please his wife.
Then several years and two children later he left the church for the Baptist church where his boss was a member apparently to please his boss in hopes of career advancement.
And his wife and kids went along to the Baptist church with him to please him.
There was a fellow who was baptized and joined a particular church and started selling insurance to everyone in the church he could.
When he ran out of clients in the church to sell insurance to he stopped attending church there and joined a different church for more clientele.
He was "religious" to please others so that he might sell them insurance!
We have seen those who became "religious" for a while simply to please their future husband or wife and then after getting married one day they decide they don't care about pleasing their husband or wife any more and they are not religious anymore.
This is also a big problem in foreign evangelism. We hear of hundreds obeying the gospel when our preachers go there. The preachers also distribute the money to the poor.
There are reports that many of these same converts will obey and follow other missionaries and take their handouts as well.
I am sure that many of us have all seen many similar situations.
Jesus warns about those who practice religion to please men.
Matthew 6:1-8
This warning also applies to those who practice their religion to please their family. Jesus said: "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37).
Do you practice your religion to be seen of and please others?

Who does your religion please?
This is the most prominent of all we will discuss today.
Moses warned the Jews in seeking to please themselves in their religion.
"Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes" (Deuteronomy 12:8).
But time and again that's exactly what they did!
They were religious but their religion was to please themselves, not to please God.
During the period of the Judges there was a lot of religion practiced, but "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges17:6; 21:25).
King Saul is a preeminent example of one whose religion was to please himself.
Instead of waiting for Samuel to offer the sacrifice as God intended, Saul offered the sacrifice contrary to God's Word.
When Samuel asked, (1 Samuel 13:11-13).
Saul's answer was all about Saul and what Saul wanted to do, what would please Saul; then Saul blamed Samuel for running late.
When Saul failed to destroy the Amelakites as the Lord commanded, Saul had all sorts of excuses, but what it really came down to was Saul did what he wanted to do! (1 Samuel 15).
Example of Jews left in land after the destruction of Jerusalem.
They told Jeremiah to tell them what God wanted them to do. "Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God" (Jeremiah 42:6).
Their words sound like so many today, but what they actually did was please themselves.
When Jeremiah told them what the Lord commanded they rebelled against the Lord and did what they wanted.
They said: Jeremiah, "You speak falsely!” (Jeremiah 43:2-4).
Jereboam set up golden calves, and altars in the northern most city in Israel, Dan and one in the southern city of Bethel.
The gods were false, the altars were false, the priests were false, the whole religion stunk to high heaven (1 Kings 12).
Why did so many Israelites accept it without a complaint?
Jereboam knew they would accept it because their religion was to please themselves, not God.
He "said unto them, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt'" (1 Kings 12:28).
All Jereboam had to do to convert these people to a false religion was make it more "convenient" for them.
How many today belong to a particular denomination because it pleases them.
Many are like Ricky Nelson's line in the song "Garden Party." "Singin' can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."
This is the religion of many today.
It is a religion of, by and for self.
The worshiper's words may profess: "I worship God" but their deeds ignore God. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him" (Titus 1:16).
Their religion is found upon what "I think" what "I feel" and what "I believe." (the emphasis on “I”)
Perhaps they want convenience; perhaps they want the church to entertain their children; perhaps they want to be entertained themselves; perhaps they want their religion to have plenty of social activities to keep them busy.
Some times have I had those who have asked me not about what the church teaches, not about the Bible lessons and classes but about what social and recreational programs the church has for them and their children.
Their motive, their interests and desires are evident.
They want Jereboam's religion of convenience to please themselves.
They are not seeking to please the Lord.

Who does your religion please?
The Lord Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father
His life was entirely determined by the will of God for Him, and doing that will, He found pleasure (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38) and pleased God.
"And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29).
Do you always seek and do those things that please God?
When you seek to please others or yourself, rather than God, the Father is no longer with you, even if what you are doing is "religious."
Jesus did not live selfishly to please himself. "For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me" (Romans 15:3).
Do we seek to please God in our religion?
God was pleased under the Law of Moses for those who sought to please him. "For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant" (Isaiah 56:4).
Trying to please God should always be our aim:
Paul wrote: "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9).
How we speak should be to please God. "But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
How we walk (live our lives) should be to please God. "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (1 Thessalonians 4:1).
We need to learn what pleases God and do those things, and stop doing anything for which He is not pleased.

What Pleases God?
Faith: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Obedience: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
There are so many whose real motive in religion are revealed on this point.
When someone begins denigrating obedience to the will of God and speaking of a higher spirituality, you can be sure that their concept of religion and spirituality is whatever pleases them and makes them "feel good“; and not doing what pleases God!
This is pseudo-spirituality which emphasizes a person's feelings above what God commands.
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:22).
But many do not act this way in their religion.
While some of what they do in their religion may agree with what God has commanded, their motive is not to please Him but rather everything they do is to please themselves!
And they do exactly what they want to do regardless of what God instructed.
What pleases God is doing good works by doing His Will:
"Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:21).
"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10).

What does not please God?
Sin: “Which is Lawlessness” 1 John 3:4
"But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness" (1 Corinthians 10:5).
"So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8).
Disobedience to His Will: "(7) Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (8) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:7-8).

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
Examine yourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Now, answer the question: Who does your religion please?

By Carey Scott from an outline by Wayne Greeson

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