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Please God Alone (Gal.1_10)

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Please God alone (Gal.1:10)

Telos: Being a servant of Christ’s, we please God alone (Gal.1:10)


A pastor recently resigned from a local Chinese church.  He resigned because he could not meet the expectation that the congregation has set for him.   Then, he showed a young man list.  It’s a wish-list what the church are looking for in their future pastor. He asked him to see if  he would be interested for the job.  Let me read it to you: A culturally diverse local Chinese Church is looking for a pastor:  n      Fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and in English n      have a strong understanding in both Chinese and American culture, and major Chinese sub-culture n      Have experience working with American Chinese, Chinese who are from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.  n      Have basic knowledge in  n      The pastor responsibility includes but not limited to: youth ministry, student ministry, single ministry, married couple ministry, and senior ministry. Also, knows how to play music is a plus. You got the point.  Today’s churches are demanding pastors to be multi-tasks and multi-talented. To be honest, I am not that talented.   It seems like a Pastor needs to be a superman to keep up with these expectations.  Then, How can I meet be qualified to serve? And how can I meet these expectations?   Paul in Galatians chapter one verse 10 gave us some insight on how to respond such demand


“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (v.10) It doesn’t sound like an answer to me.  Please, let me first tell you what happened in Galatia. At the time, a group of people came to the church of Galatians, teaching them something that added on to the gospel (v.9)   They teach them, they need to be circumcised (v.6:12) and continue to observe the Law of Moses (v.3:5)  But the church at the time has already accepted the gospel that Paul has given them.  So, in order to win the trust of the church. They bad-mouthed about Paul. (v.4:17).  They say his teaching is too easy. “How can you not observing the law and have salvation? Paul’s teaching is not pleasing to God, only to man” When Paul finds out, He was very upset.  Not just because they bad-mouthed about him, but because the church of Galatians turned away from the gospel so quickly.  How mad was Paul? In Paul’s letter, he normally would begin with a greeting, and a blessing, and then he says a few good words about you before diving into the hard teaching. But here, Look at v. 6, he did not say a good thing about them usually greeting.  He jumped right in and says “I am astonished!!  How quickly you have turned away from the gospel?” (v.6) Paul was so upset. He was like a racing horse can not wait to jump out of the gate.  Paul could not wait to question them.    Verse 9, he said to them. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!!” (v. 9) These people come for no good.  They come to divide us, not to help us. They say that I preach the gospel because I want the approval of men? NO, that’s not true.


Then, Beginning in verse 10, Paul gave a lengthy defense by asking “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? (v.10)” Here, Paul draws a contrast between, winning the approval of men and winning the approval of God.  A clear conflict between, meeting the expectation from men and the expectation from God.  This comparison lingers throughout this letter.  In Chapter 2, Paul told a story in Antioch. When Paul meets Peter in Antioch, Paul saw Peter was eating with the Gentiles.  But when certain men came from James, Peter draw back from the Gentiles and separated himself from them. No only Peter, other Jews joined him to the act.   But Paul, He immediately confronted them (v.2:11), saying to them, they’ve done wrong.  Paul told this incident to Galatians because he wanted them to know.  He could have stayed quiet and let it go.  But he didn’t, What does it say?  It says that I careless about what people think of me, I only care about what God thinks of me.  

Here, we see two points about the attitude that Paul holds in his ministry.   First, No servant can serve two masters.  Second, a servant of Christ seeks only to God’s approval.   

No servant can serve two masters

 Because if a servant is serving two masters, he would either hate the one or love the other.  These people follow the current, what ever people say, they will follow.  They do not have a strong sense of conviction, because they do not know what is right or wrong to do.  These are the people who would have a hard time deciding what color of shocks to wear everyday.   Illustration: Cooking a pot of food, someone wants Chicken, someone wants beef, someone wants it spicy, and someone wants it sweet. The end result is un-edible.  Notice later part of verse ten is the conditional clause.  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.  In Greek there are a few types of conditional clause, this is the type of conditional clause that bears NO fulfillment possibility.   Unlike we say, “if you are thirsty, you can drink this cup of water.”  Even if you are not thirsty, you can still drink.  But here, in this type of conditional clause, NO fulfillment is possible.  “If you don’t pay for your drink, there absolutely, positively no chance you can drink this water.” Simply put, Paul is saying, we servant of Christ don’t seek to please men. That brings us to the second point.  

A servant of Christ seeks only to God’s approval.

 Last semester, I had a very heavy work load. By final week, I still have two major papers to work on.  But by the grace of one of the professor, we did not have to do one of them.  I felt instant relieve after that because I know, I can now focus on one paper.  A servant of Christ has one goal and one focus. That is to seek after Christ’s interest.  Christ’s interest and priority is our interest and priority.  1.      It reminds me an incident in Acts. When Peter were led to the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:27), the Priest order him not to preach the gospel. But what did Peter say? “We must obey God rather than man”.    a.       Peter obeyed God.  He was doing the work of God.  He was seeking after God’s plan, after his idea and his will.  He did not look see his own danger at the time.  Because he had his eyes fixed on the interest of God.  2.      This kind of compete submission is fully expressed in Christ Jesus.  Before he was sent to the cross, he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane “God, if it is possible, please take this cup away from me”, “but if it is not possible, may your will be done.” a.       Jesus had his eyes on God’s interest.  He was obedient to death and even death to a cross.  3.      Jesus had more pressure from expectation than any of us.  a.       the people wanted him to be Kingb.      the disciples wanted him to raise a war against the Roman empirec.       the Priests just wanted him to be quiet   You may wonder, isn’t Jesus God? It might be easy for him to do, but it’s not that easy for me to handle that kind of pressure.  Yes, Jesus was God. But he also was completely a human. He went through the same pressure that we have today. Then, you ask, why does he do that.  (Phil 2) Because He, who being the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But he made himself nothing.  For what? For the glory of God the father. Jesus was looking after God’s interest.  

So What?

 Then how do we be a servant of Christ? The secret is to be focus, set our mind for God’s interests, and focus on seeking only for God’s approval.    Be loyal to our master, and be obedient to his teaching  In all that you do, seek after God’s interests not ours.  A little kid who was playing with five to six kids on the playground, they boycott him because the little boy refused to beat another boy.  They didn’t play with him. He went back to his mom crying. Her mom gave him a hug, put her hand on him head, and said, “Child, you’ve done well. You are going to be alright.” Brothers and sisters, we only need to meet one expectation. That’s to do your best for God’s purpose. If you are doing that, “you’ve done well; you are going to be alright.” 

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