Oct 15, 2017 – Free From People Pleasing
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: 1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (ESV)
1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
The control that the opinions of others exerts on us is not resolved by “not caring” but through the focus of living for the pleasure of God (v4). Living to please God:
I) What you will have to resist
- attempts to deceive (v3)
- the influence of greed (v5)
- seeking glory from people (v6)
II) What you can expect to see
- courage (v2)
- gentle generosity (vv7-8)
- character (v10)
III) What kind of outlook you should have
- v4 “just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted… so…”
- v12 “walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory”
Questions for Reflection
- In what ways are you influenced by the opinions of others? Whose opinions most concern you? Can you think of any incidents where you did something you wouldn’t have done (or didn’t do something you wanted to do) because of your concern over what others would think or say?
- Living to please God involves risk and sacrifice. What will be most challenging for you if you are to commit to a life focused on pleasing God?
- What comes most naturally to you: courage, gentle generosity or character? Which is hardest for you? How can focusing on living for God’s pleasure be a means of growth in whatever areas you need growth?
- Does faith that God has called you into His kingdom and glory change your outlook on life? Do you seek to “walk in a manner worthy of God”? What would that look like for you: would it be trying to live up to God’s standard to prove yourself? would it be a recognition of God’s goodness and the joy of living in that? how can you experience freedom with the perspective that God calls you and there is joy in living for Him?
- Paul’s message was credible because of the character he demonstrated and the fact that he faced opposition (and had nothing to gain) – this follows Jesus, who had impeccable character and gave all for us. What can you receive from Christ to strengthen you to follow in his footsteps? What do you need?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, we cannot please everyone. We acknowledge that we consistently choose to please ourselves and others, and fail to do what pleases you. We recognize that we suffer in various ways because we want too much the approval, admiration and acceptance of people. You have called us, but we have not walked in a manner worthy of that calling. Forgive us, and by your grace renew our hearts so that we will live with the integrity that befits your followers. Amen.