First Baptist Church of Minneola
Serving Jesus or John Doe
- An old fable that has been passed down for generations tells about an elderly man who was traveling with a boy and a donkey.As they walked through a village the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind. The townspeople said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed up on the animal's back.When they came to the next village, the people said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride. So to please them he got off and set the boy on the animal's back and continued on his way.In the third village people accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk and the suggestion was made that they both ride. So the man climbed on and they set off again.In the fourth village the townspeople were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people. The frustrated man was last seen carrying the donkey down the road.Story makes a good point: We can't please everybody, and if we try we end up carrying a heavy burden.Christians may offer us advice, and much of it is valuable. But when we try to do everything other believers want us to do, we can easily become frustrated and confused. We need to remember that the One we must please above all other is Christ. We do that by obeying God's Word.TRANS - We began this series focusing on the goodness grace. Last week we noted the horribleness of apostasy.BILL - This morning we will take up the topic of people pleasing.Let’s start by looking to our passage.What does it say?For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.What does this mean?IntroductionDo you know the difference between a people pleaser and a servant of Jesus?People-pleasers have a need to please other people. Jesus’ servants have a passion to please God. People-pleasers fear what others think about them. Servants of Jesus fear God. People-pleasers pretend to serve God, but really serve themselves. Christ’s servants meet needs of other people. People-pleasers want approval and upset when they don’t get it. Jesus’ servants love others and leave approval or disapproval to God.So, which are you? A people-pleaser or servant of Jesus?This is Paul’s question to the Galatians:For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.Why does Paul ask this question?See, Paul knows the problem at Galatia is more than a theological matter, it is a moral matter. It’s not a matter of confusion, the Galatians are being people-pleasers not servants of God. Recall they are forsaking the gospel for a non-gospel.Paul places the idea of people-pleasers into the minds of the Galatians early on because he knows it is a big part of the problems of the Galatians. If we were to sum up Paul’s message up to this point it might be phrased something like, “people-pleaser do not make good servants of Jesus.”BILL - In a moment we will begin to learn what this passage means. We will look at three points and then discuss what we can to to fight back people-pleasers.TRANS - We hear talk of “peer pressure” but in this first point I want us to consider the type of person who caves to such a pressure.People-Pleasers Cave under People PressureYou have influential people in your life. I’m not talking about the unimportant ones. You have people who are important to you who want you to please them. The high school prom queen does not hang out with the freshman boys. You are not likely to try to people-please the grocery bagger at Publix. However, you might be tempted to people-please a friend, spouse, or other relative.What’s the problem with that?People-pleasers don’t make good servants of God because they cave under pressure from influential people.Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I’m not saying don’t listen to others or make requests from people. That’s more along the lines of being selfish. I’m saying influential people can tempt to compromise our convictions. It’s tempting to do things to get the approval, or avoid disapproval, of people we influence or from those whom we influence. Paul understood this clearly if you recall the pressure put on him to have Titus circumcised.People-pleasers cave under pressure. They’d rather compromise the Bible’s authority than have influential people look on them with disapproval. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a situation like this recently?Let’s compare two people: 1) people who yield to pressure and, 2) servants of Christ. Paul says to people who pressure others to compromise:But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.Do you think this cost Paul? Sure it did. He got the disapproval of the influential false teachers we are reading about in this book. But Paul knew, compromise would cost the Galatians more because they’d doubt the truth of the gospel Paul taught; he’d been seen as serving himself and not them by his actions.TRANS - We just noted the effect of caving to people. Let’s step this up and see what happens when we ignore what we should that which we should heed.People-Pleasers Ignore Harmful HypocrisyThere are few things worse than hypocrisy. When a Christian acts differently than they claim to be, say one thing and do another, denying with their life what they say with their lips, it can do all kinds of damage. It is the work of all Christians to help that person, lovingly as we discussed last week, to confront that person in their hypocrisy so that it does not spread and hurt others.But do you know that people-pleasers don’t like to confront hypocrisy. Instead, they rather ignore it and hope it goes away. We all know why that is so; people-pleasers don’t confront others because someone might be displeased with them. People-pleasers steer clear of confrontation even when it runs risk of causing harm.Last week I told you we will consider Peter’s hypocrisy. This is a good place to use that to illustrate our point:But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?Peter ate with Gentiles until the Jews came to town then Peter became “aloof, fearing the party.” Peter’s hypocrisy spread and infected the church “The rest…even Barnabas” joined in his hypocrisy. Everyone of them was led astray by Peter’s one act of hypocrisy. This is an example of how even one act of hypocrisy can destroy a whole church.The only one not led astray was the Pharisee from Tarsus and Paul. Paul didn’t overlook the hypocrisy, he confronted Peter publicly because of the public nature of the hypocrisy:But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?Do you think Paul might had been tempted to “sweep it under the rug?” Might it had been easier to overlook this indiscretion? Instead, Paul puts himself out there running risk the church might alienate him. Paul seeks to please Jesus instead of people and didn’t turn away from addressing Peter’s hypocrisy. Difficult? Yes, but the right thing to do.I want you to know that not confronting hypocrisy in the church is why I believe most churches are dying and many are weak. It’s easy to see how churches become places to be people-pleasers. But, doing so leads to all kinds of problems. It leads to double standards, leadership falls, and breads additional hypocrisy. Instead of an atmosphere of loving confrontation, people ignore it, then they gossip about it with their spouse or others.Some of us need to lovingly confront others caught up in hypocrisy. If you don’t see the reason, it may be because you don’t want to harm yourself or others, that is your reputation with others. Then we see sin and say nothing. We let hypocrisy continue to harm others. That’s not Christlike that is cowardly; that’s a people-pleaser not servant of the Lord.TRANS - We’re hitting it hard; not easy topics. Caving to people-pressure and allowing hypocrisy when we know our duty is to address these sort of matters. And it’s only getting deeper.Now we’re turning our attention to a very difficult Bible theme—humiliation.People-Pleasers Hide from Chastening of the CrossOur final point why people-pleasers don’t make good servants of Jesus is because they hide from shame of the cross.Do you like embarrassment? Probably not; neither do I. To a People-pleaser public humiliation is a death deal. However, a servant of Christ must be willing to pick up your cross and follow Jesus.Where is all this going you ask? I’ll tell you; the cross was not only a cruel method of execution, it was a too of humiliation too.BAK - The cross was a the most shameful way known to kill a person. The method was painful and horrible on which to look. The cross was, also, a public way to embarrass and humiliate a person.Josephus called it:“the most wretched of deaths”Cicero saw it as:“so horrible a deed”First they beat the man, then strip him naked, then nail his hands and feet to a piece of wood. Then they’d put him up as on a post in sight of everyone so people could mock and jeer as he choked to death.That is how Jesus died. He was publicly killed in the most embarrassing and humiliation way imaginable.fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Shameful it was then, is now, and is supposed to be in the lives of Christians who “take up” the cross.Paul understood the idea of cross bearing. He suffered terribly for serving Jesus. Paul demanded a circumcision-free gospel for Gentiles. Paul’s demand angered many Jews who took out their frustration on Paul. The Bible reminds us of Pauls suffering:From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.Paul knows that his life could be easier if he’d let up on the whole cross of Christ thing for a bit:But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.Paul knows the persecution would stop if the offense of the cross disappeared. But Paul is a servant of Jesus and won’t give in to people-pleasing. Paul does the opposite and runs to the cross boasting in it:But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.Do you see why Paul speaks with such emotion?:I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.Paul is not saying this in some figurative sense. Paul’s pain is real and it is costly. Paul learned the servant of God can’t escape humiliation, can’t run from the chastening of the cross.TRANS - We talked about caving to people, consequences of ignoring hypocrisy, and bearing our cross. All of this should bring us to wonder what God is asking from us?What can we do about the people-pleaser problem?Fighting back My People-PleaserYou have a people pleaser in you; all of us do. Your people-pleaser needs constant crucifixion in order to be a servant of Jesus.How do we fight and kill our personal people-pleaser?You fight your people pleasing the same way you fight sin in your life; you fight by faith, but trusting in what God has for you in Jesus.The victorious life starts by acknowledging Jesus took every judgement against you and nailed it to the cross. Every judgement ever made or that will be made was laid in Jesus and He took them to the cross.That is how the Bible can say:Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.Embracing the truth of the Bible, Jesus took all punishment for all you’ve done and will do to the cross.Next, in order to fight temptation we must believe that God’s judgement is the only one that counts. Human courts are a small thing in compared to God’s judgment, in fact nothing at all:But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.So, do not give yourself over to the judgement of people, but to God. People are never pleased, and trying to please them will wear you down. God’s judgement is kind, simple and does not involve different and often competing expectations:For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.God simply wants faith working through love. Have faith in Jesus and have love for God and others through the HS:For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.That is what counts before God.ConclusionPeople-pleasers don’t make good servants of Jesus. The cave under pressure, overlook hypocrisy, and run from shame of the cross.People-pleasers are anxious, always worrying about what people think. They worry about approval and disapproval from people who constantly change their minds. Only God’s approval is what matters.The reward of serving God exceeds anything people can provide. Only in serving Jesus will we hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”(end)
1 Corinthians 4:3–4NASB95
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