Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today's devotion: Crowd Pleasers - 1 Thessalonians 2:4

Today’s readings are: 1 Samuel 9:21-27 and 1 Thessalonians 2:1-9

1 Thessalonians 2:4   On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 

I must confess it – I really like Paul’s writing, especially when he is candid about the Christian faith. He reminds his readers that Christians are not meant to be crowd-pleasers or popularity-seekers. We have been given the Gospel because this is the last and best opportunity that humankind has in order to be saved. If we diminish the message because it will either fall upon deaf ears or we will be ‘not liked, then so be it. The Church was not established by Christ to be like the world; it is meant to disturb the people on this planet.

This is why, in despotic nations who are ruled by tyrants, Christianity is oppressed. Evil people like their easy evil ways; when the Church confronts them with the Truth, tyrants and dictators will eventually fall. Christianity is not a cozy religion, it’s a radical faith.

I must also confess that this is why I dislike Christians attacking the Church for being outdated, unhip, and irrelevant. They should do more reading of Church history, for they will soon discover that the Church is anything but outdated, unhip, and irrelevant. Post-modern people may like to delude themselves about how ineffective the Church is, but post-modern people only see what they want to see and are largely very narrow-minded, self-centered, and hopelessly insecure.

As Paul states, the purpose of our faith is to please God, not other people. If our hearts are full of ourselves, then we will have no room for God, which would be a total shame, for God created our hearts to be filled with His love, so that we could enjoy Him forever.

Questions for personal reflection

What have I done with the Gospel that God has given me? What have I still to do with it?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, Your Life is the Gospel, so we are thankful for learning of, knowing, and loving You. Our lives would be totally different without Your presence and influence. Our hope and salvation, as well as our happiness and restoration all depend upon You alone. Thank You, Jesus, for being our Savior and for giving us Your Gospel. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. If you would like to make a comment or ask a question of today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.

Today’s image is a new stained glass design that I have created called “Celtic Flame.” It depicts the Holy Spirit descending to Earth on Pentecost. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3755/12061475774_a3b2ebd4f0_b.jpg

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