Hello Friends. What is your religion? What do you do to please God? Does He answer your prayers? The Lord Jesus Christ shows us how we can please God. He also tells us how we can know God and live with Him forever. Let us talk about these important things. Look at each picture for this lesson as you listen to the recording (cassette).
Picture 84. Jesus and the Rich Young Man Mark 10:17-27
How can we have eternal Life?
One day a rich man went to Jesus. He fell on his knees in front of Him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to have eternal Life?" Jesus said to him, "You know God's commandments; "Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Do not cheat. Respect your father and mother." The rich man said, "I have obeyed all these commandments since I was young." Jesus looked at him and said, "There is one thing you still need to do. Go and sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow Me." That man went away sad because he had great wealth. He would not follow Jesus because he loved his money too much. It is right to keep God's commands. It is also good to honour God with prayer and fasting. We should help people who are in need. But these things will not give us eternal Life. Like the rich man, there is still one thing we need to do. We must follow Jesus and be willing to give up everything else. Only Jesus can show us the way to eternal Life.
Picture 85. Parable of Workers in the Vineyard Matthew 20:1-16
If we work very hard, can we earn eternal life in heaven?
Jesus told a parable which answers this question. There was a rich landowner. Early in the morning he went out to hire workers. Some workers were hired early in the day. Others were hired in the afternoon. They worked shorter hours. Some men who were hired even later in the day. They only worked for one hour. But the landowner decided to give them all a full day's pay. The ones who worked the whole day, complained because they were paid the same as those who only worked for one hour. But the landowner said to them, "I am not being unfair to you. You agreed to work for one coin. I want to give the men who were hired last the same as I gave you. I have the right to do what I want with my own money. Are you envious because I am generous?" Friends, people cannot earn eternal life by the amount of good work which they do. But God is generous. He gives eternal Life to anyone who believes in Jesus. Eternal life is a free gift from God. We cannot earn it!
Picture 91. Paying Taxes to Caesar Mark 12:13-17
How should we honour God?
One day some leaders came to Jesus. They asked Him, "Should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not? Jesus replied, "Show me a coin!" They brought Him a silver coin, and He asked, "Whose picture and name are on it?" They answered, "The Emperor's". Then Jesus told them, "Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God." We honour God when we believe in Jesus and do what is right according to God's Word. We should pay our taxes, but we should give to God as well.
Picture 92. The Poor Widow's Offering Mark 12:41-44; James 1:27
How should we give to God?
One day Jesus sat in the temple. He watched how the people put their money in the offering box. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came along. She put two small coins in the offering box. Jesus said to His followers, "I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. Everyone else gave what they did not need. But she is very poor and she gave everything she had. Now she does not have anything to live on." We should also give generously. Everything that we have is from God. We must be willing to give it back to Him by giving to those in need. The Bible says, "Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil."
How should we give to others? Jesus said (in Matthew 6:1-4), "When you give to the needy, do not tell everyone. Do not seek honour from men. But when you give to the needy, your giving should be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." We should not seek praise from other people. It is better to receive praise from God.
Picture 36. Teaching about Prayer Matthew 6:5-13
What did Jesus say about prayer?
Jesus said, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. They like to pray in the places of prayer and in the streets where everybody can see them. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to God your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."
Jesus said, "This is how you should pray,
Our Father in heaven,
May your Name be honoured.
May Your kingdom come,
May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Picture 69. Parable of the Friend at Midnight Luke 11:1-13
How should we pray if we want to please God?
In this story, Jesus taught His followers how to pray. He said, "Suppose one of you goes to a friend in the middle of the night and says, 'Let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine has come and I have not got anything for him to eat.' And suppose your friend answers, 'Don't bother me! The door is locked and my children are in bed with me. I cannot get up and give you anything.' He may not get up and give you the bread, just because you are his friend. But he will get up and give you as much as you need, because you are not ashamed to keep on asking." Jesus taught His followers to keep on praying. We should not give up, but we should keep asking God for what we need. Jesus also said, "Everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." He knows what is best for us. Trust Him to provide what you need. This is what pleases God.
Picture 82. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14
How should we come before God when we pray? Will He accept our prayers? Listen to Jesus again.
He said, "Two men went into the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, saying, 'God, I thank You that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. I go without eating for two days a week, and I give You one tenth of all I earn.' The tax collector stood at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up towards heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, 'God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.'" Then Jesus said to His followers, "It was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honoured." God resists people who are proud. If we really want God to accept our prayers, then we must humble ourselves. Only then can we please God.
Picture 102. Jesus Prays in Gethsemane Mark 14:32-42; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Did Jesus pray? Yes, Jesus often spoke with God. He is our great example in prayer. In this picture Jesus is praying in a garden. It is night time. Jesus is in great distress. He had done nothing wrong, but His enemies wanted to kill Him. So Jesus prayed to God and said, "Rather, if it is possible, do not let this happen to me! You can do anything. Do not make me suffer. But do what You want, and not what I want." Jesus knew that God's will was best for Him, even if it meant death. God wants us to pray too, but we must accept His answer to our prayer. Jesus asked His friends to pray with Him, but they were too tired. They went to sleep. Then Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Stay awake and pray so that you will not be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak." The Bible says, "Always be joyful and never stop praying. This is what God wants you to do."
Picture 108. The Crucifixion Mark 15:25-39
Do we have to offer sacrifices to please God? No! Listen carefully. The enemies of Jesus arrested Him. They accused Him falsely. They condemned Him to death, and nailed Him up on a cross to die. Why did God let this happen? Because He loved the people of the world very much. However, you and I have not followed the ways of God. We have sinned against God and the punishment for our sin is death. Jesus had never sinned but God let Him die to pay the price for our sins. So there is no need for us to offer sacrifices for our sins. Only the sacrifice of Jesus can take away our sins. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
Picture 119. Jesus at God's Right Hand in Heaven Mark 16:19; John 14:6
Is Jesus, the only way to God? On the third day after Jesus died, He came alive. Hundreds of His followers saw Him again. They spoke with Him. They saw Him rise up to heaven in the clouds. Now Jesus is with God and one day He will come to earth again. God has given Him all power and authority in heaven and on earth. When we pray to God, Jesus prays to God for us. Friends, we cannot please God by our own religious efforts. We cannot save ourselves by our prayers and good works or the sacrifices we make. The only way to please God is to believe in Jesus and to obey Him. This is the way of great joy and peace with God. For Jesus is the way to God. He is the truth about God, and He gives us eternal life with God. No one can go to God except by Him.