Seek the approval of God.
1 Thess. 2:3
“For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 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.” (2: 6) “Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others,.”
The word translated “deceit” is the same word used for a fishing lure and implies pretense and trickery. There were many “wandering charlatans” peddling their religious and philosophical wares for profit, and many who were charging Paul of false motives and false doctrine that forced Paul to action. Paul defends his ministry and preaching as having sought only to please God, not any kind of trickery, falseness, or uncleanness.. Today, false teachers, inaccurate doctrine, heretical messages, are heard daily, in public encounters, on TV programs, dramas and preaching, as well as from certain pulpits in the local communities. The Bible is no longer the final authority on any matter, or it is twisted to say what the speaker wants.
The frightening fact is that it is rarely ever troubling to church people today. Too much of the world’s beliefs are heard in the church and too little of the Word of God is heard in the community. Pastors are being challenged about their preaching, false doctrines are being taught in churches, and church members are reasoning in daily activities according to the values of the unsaved public. In order to please the people and seek personal glory, some preachers have “itching ears.” Doctrine is watered down or avoided altogether so as to please the crowd, and many have gathered a large following because that is the religion the world wants to hear.
The Apostle places a heavy burden on the spiritual leaders to not seek to please men, nor to seek glory from men, nor even from their church people. The pastor’s motives should be to only please God, who examines the hearts. How else will the perishing world know the difference, between the Gospel and human wisdom? How will they discover the truth? Even on Christian radio and TV, one speaker will proclaim “truth” and the next program will deny or change it and preach differently. Even in use of the Word of God, many will lift a text out of context and twist it to mean something other than God intends.
Now, we hear that adultery is “not against the law” and “no fault divorce” is common so no one must claim responsibility. Sensuality, sexual sins and abuse are found as often among church people as in the secular world. There is little or no modesty, even in church activities, thus the world does not see any “Christian difference.” How then are we to show purity and godliness that reveals Biblical values? How do they see Christ in us?
Today, direct teachings of God are against the law, and we are demanded to change Scripture to affirm all manner of sins which are now lawful in our land. Too many churches and denominations are meeting the demands and are embracing the present day values as Biblical.
Is it not time for churches, the institutions and the people, and especially spiritual leaders to stand for the truth of the Scriptures and refuse to please this sinful culture? Seek only to please God, for He is the one who examines the heart.