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.

Feeling fragile?

John Piper
But we have this treasure in jars of clay,
to show that the surpassing power
belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

Some days we wake up feeling fragile, aware of all our weaknesses, when we would prefer instead to wake up feeling strong, and fit, and full of energy to face the day ahead of us. But, even on those days, and whether we feel it or not, at any given moment, in Christ, by grace through faith alone, we may discover again that He is with us, in us, in all his strength, to work through us; the power is His, and the glory must be His as well. This first of three brief posts on the theme of treasure in clay pots comes from John Piper…

John Piper says…. The third reason you should use your gift for the good of others and the glory of God is that your ordinariness is no reason not to. Too many people say, ‘I’m so ordinary, so average and undistinguished. I can’t do anything significant.’ 2 Corinthians 4:7 shows that this argument is wrong and why. It says, ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels (or clay pots!) to show us that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.’ God’s concept of ministry is so different from the world’s concept. The world stresses the classy container, not the glory of God in human weakness.

“If there is one thing that we are coming to learn together in this church, it is that God’s purpose to get the glory in all things determines how we do all things. Here God’s purpose is to make sure that we see that the surpassing power belongs to him and not to us. How does he do it? He puts the treasure of his gifts and his gospel in clay pots like you and me. Your ordinariness is not a liability; it is an asset, if you really want God to get the glory.

“No one is too common, too weak, too shy, too inarticulate, too disabled to do what God wants you to do with your gift. … No matter what your condition, you have a gift, and the humble use of it in reliance on the Spirit will bring glory to God.

“It is no liability to be a clay pot in the kingdom of God.”

From John Piper in a sermon entitled ‘Calling All Clay Pots’ in Desiring God Resources