Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for the loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43
But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness-God is witness. First Thessalonians 2:4-5
The praise of men. How many are misled or lost because they value the praise of men MORE than the praise of the Almighty God? In the first verses above there were many who BELIEVED IN CHRIST, but because they were afraid of what might happen to them, they did not CONFESS Him as the Christ. How tragic! They missed out because of peer pressure. The sad thing is, I happen to know people who do this very thing. They are afraid to make a scene, or be noticed, or whatever it is, so they sit quietly and never confess the Lord. Oh, they BELIEVE in Him, that He is the Son of God and Savior of the world, but they just can’t make it public. They would never be seen doing or saying anything that might cause you to think they were Believers. Or, how many of us, when out of the protection of our Christian circle, keep quiet when we know we should speak up? I’ve been guilty of that one! Is it because we value what our co-workers, or fellow students think more than what God thinks about us? I would like to think otherwise, but am afraid it is so. We must be careful of this.
Even in doing ‘good’ things at church we can be guilty of doing them for the wrong reason. Don’t be part of anything that you don’t feel God is calling you to be part of. Want to join the choir? Is it because you want others to know how well you sing, or because you feel you can somehow bring God greater Glory by doing so? Seeking to teach a class? Better to make sure that it is what God is wanting you to do, even though others tell you that ‘teaching is your gift’, if you aren’t doing it for God it is best to not be doing it.
In the second verse above we read about Paul and Timothy’s ministry. What a wake up call they give! Have you ever thought about the fact that we have been ENTRUSTED WITH THE GOSPEL?
“For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness-God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others…” 1 Thess. 2:5-6
I have heard many sermons, and witnessed many well-meaning Christians who do just the opposite as the above verse. You’ve heard the saying, “Flattery will get you nowhere.” Well, in the case of spreading the Gospel, the TRUE Gospel, that saying is true. God doesn’t need us to draw people to Him. He does the drawing, He does the saving. So many churches today are falling into the thinking that they have to have the right ‘program’ and the right ‘vision’ or else God’s Kingdom will not prevail. We cater to the lost trying to convince them to be saved. We have all sorts of ‘fun’ things planned and tons of people show up and yet, when the so-called fun is over and we are down to just coming together to worship the God who has saved us from our sin, only a few are there. Believer, this is not a good thing and is not a sign of a healthy congregation.
Let us be about spreading the Gospel. The Gospel does not need anything added to it to make it appealing. Let us not be guilty of using flattering words to convince people of their need of salvation. To truly be saved one must come to the realization of his depravity apart from God and if we are constantly telling them the opposite, just so they will come to church or Sunday School, then we are doing them more harm than good. Live your life for God’s glory, be a TRUE friend to someone and talk about Jesus and His grace as you go about your day. Make it real and be real. Let’s not be guilty of covering the Gospel in gimmicks and catchy themes because we think if we don’t, no one will come. Where is our faith? Is it not God who saves?
Acts 2:46-47 (The Message) They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
That’s it, plain and simple. Live your life worshiping God, gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and have favor with all people ( unbelievers as well as believers) and watch the Lord do His saving! To His Glory!
Lord, may my life be more about pleasing You, not those around me. If others are pleased by what I do, may it be for your glory not mine. I pray that I do not become guilty of doing anything because I desire anyone’s praise other than Yours. May my life be an example of one that is lived to serve and please You, in doing so others will come to know you and desire to please You with their life. For Your Glory, In Jesus’ Name, Amen