Plus or min-us?

John Stott C the C
I do not receive glory from people.
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:41, 44 ESV

Imagine a wedding where the Best Man believed that the day was all about him. John the Baptist said of his witness to Jesus, ‘Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.’ This final brief post on the theme of glory also comes from John Stott…

John Stott wrote: “To love the glory of God more than the glory of men is also to seek approval from God rather than men. This too was the declared ambition of Jesus. ‘I do not receive glory of men,’ He said. Indeed, we know that He was despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3) …yet God approved Him (Mark 1:11; 9:7; Romans 1:4; Philippians 2:9-11)…

“Very different was the ambition of the Pharisees. Their supreme concern was to stand high in the favour of men, rather than God, and this had an evil effect upon every aspect of their lives.

“ John writes that towards the end of His ministry ‘many even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.’ (John 12:42,43).

“They could not contemplate the ridicule and rejection which would follow an open commitment to Christ. They were hungry for popularity and praise. The same self-regarding anxiety to stand high in the opinion of others keeps many Christians dumb today when they should be vocal in testimony to their Lord….

 “Our ministry will never be blessed by God until we can cry with honest defiance: ‘Am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.’ (Galatians 1:10).

From John R W Stott in Christ the Controversialist.Plus

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Mine be the glory?

John Stott C the C

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

Luke 18:10-12 ESV

To suggest the Pharisee, in saying ‘God, I thank you,’ was glorifying Him, rather than him-Self, is to have missed Luke’s comment in verse 9, ‘(Jesus) also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous’. Of course none of us would be caught going to church to praise ourselves. Would we? This second of three brief posts on the theme of glory also comes from John Stott…

John Stott wrote: “At this point it seems right to pause and see how much Pharisaism lingers even in Christian hearts. Indeed, so proud is our corrupt nature that even in our most sacred moments we may find ourselves motivated rather by self-glory than by God’s glory…

“True heart-worship is the most God-centred, God-honouring activity in which man either can or will ever participate. It is to ascribe to God the glory due to His name, to be occupied with God and with God alone. It has been truly said that nothing so disinfects us of egoism.

“Yet into public worship how subtly and swiftly does self-glory begin to intrude! The minister becomes proud of the way he is leading the service, the preacher of his eloquence and learning, the choir and musicians of their musical ability, and the congregation of their piety in being in church at all!

“Thus, just when our attention should be absorbed exclusively with God in self-forgetful adoration, we become self-conscious, self-righteous, self-important, and self-congratulatory again.”

From John R W Stott in Christ the Controversialist.

Glory me?

John Stott C the C

‘…for they loved the glory that comes from man
more than the glory that comes from God.

John 12:43 ESV.

The temptation to grab some glory for ourselves, even in the little things of life (at home, at work, or even at church) can creep up on any of us. But glory that is taken, is no glory at all. This first of three brief posts on the theme of glory comes from John Stott…

John Stott wrote: “Ultimately there are only two controlling ambitions, to which all others may be reduced. One is our own glory, and the other God’s. (John, in his gospel) set them in irreconcilable opposition to each other, and in doing so disclosed Christ’s fundamental quarrel with the Pharisees: ‘they loved the glory of men’, he wrote, ‘more than the glory of God.’  (John 12:43)

“To love the glory of God more than the glory of men is to seek to bring glory to Him rather than to men. It is to desire that all men will honour God (not us or others), and that we and they will give to Him the glory which is Hid due. It is to fulfil the aspirations of the Lord’s Prayer, to be concerned for the hallowing of God’s name, the coming of God’s kingdom, and the doing of God’s will.

“The man Christ Jesus was imbued with this desire. ‘I do not seek my own glory,’ He could say. Again,He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.’ (John 8:50; 7:18). ‘Father,’ He prayed, ‘glorify thy name.’ This was the supreme passion of His life and ministry, so that He could claim at the end, ‘I glorified thee on earth.’ (John 12:28; 17:4).

From John R W Stott in Christ the Controversialist.

Dressed to Kill?

God's Words

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of his might.

11 
Put on the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to stand
against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV

‘He dresses to kill’, was one clue to beat me in a recent crossword puzzle. The answer was ‘Matador’ and it came to mind just now, suggesting this verse from Ephesians regarding our daily fight against the devil and our sin; a fight we need never take up less than perfectly equipped to win, with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, at hand to deliver the ‘coup de GRACE’ every time. This final brief post on the theme of killing our sins also comes from J. I. Packer …

Dr Packer writes:  “The Spirit is present (in the believer) in person to oppose indwelling sin. He teaches the Christian to understand revealed truth and apply it to himself, stirs him up to obey it and strengthens him as he does so (it is He who works in us) ‘both to will and to work for his good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13). Sin can be mortified only ‘through the Spirit’, for he alone makes men willing and able for the task. But where the indwelling Spirit exerts His sovereign power, failure is impossible.

“When the Christian fights sin, therefore, he opposes a dethroned and debilitated foe; he is animated by the energy of what is now the deepest and most powerful instinct in his nature; and he goes in the strength of the Holy Spirit of God. His superiority is assured; he may join battle with confidence; he is going to win.” 

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words.