by Cole Ryan
“Are you trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? If you are trying to please people, you are not a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
You know, they actually used to differentiate the true gospel from a false teaching by whether or not the world listened.
“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” 1 John 4:5-6
That means if you are loved by the world then you are of the world (John 15:19). I think it’s interesting that there are three different verses in the bible where Jesus states “everyone will hate you because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13 & Luke 21:17 & Matthew 10:22). We are thoroughly warned about the hate we are going to receive because of Jesus, and if we are going to be receiving that hate because of Him, then aren’t we doing something wrong if we are not hated? Jesus tells us “if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18, 1 John 3:13). If everyone likes us are we truly following Jesus, or are we just trying to please the crowd?
We’re all born with a natural desire to be liked and accepted, aren’t we? We seek the approval of others, but seeking acceptance and approval has entered the church and it has resulted in a watered-down gospel. That’s scary. People aren’t hearing the real, pure, gospel. They’re hearing what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. If pastors are only concerned with not offending anyone, they care more about their own image and less about telling the truth. A lot of younger Christians like a sermon or a church that sounds good, looks good, and feels good, but doesn’t necessarily preach the truth. The bible isn’t meant to make you feel good, the bible is controversial, the bible is offensive. We should even expect the world to reject and hate the bible and Jesus (John 17:14). You cannot be politically correct and biblically correct at the same time because they contradict one another. Our goal should be to please God, not man.
“How terrible it will be for you when everyone says nice things about you, because that’s the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets.” Luke 6:26
I think sometimes we forget who our king is. We’re following a man who was crucified. If everyone loves us, we must be doing something wrong. God’s word, and God Himself, will be rejected and hated by the world – if we’re really following Him, we probably will be too.
Please don’t get me wrong – this isn’t an excuse to be self-righteous and rude. Jesus didn’t say we would be hated for our actions, He said we would be hated for simply believing in Him and preaching His word.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” Luke 6:22