Editorial - Do I seek to please men?
John Bennett, Pinxton, Nottingham [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
‘Do I seek to please men?’ Gal. 1. 10
In the 21st Century the cult of the personality is rife. Whether it is musicians, media personalities, or sportsmen and women, so many seek to model themselves on the personality of the moment. Behind the hype there is a burgeoning industry, designed to determine the next fashion and to exploit it to financial advantage. Pleasing people is big business!
Sadly, amongst professing Christians, there are those who have sought to ‘borrow’ the same philosophy. Provide what the people want and you can fill your churches! The personality of the pastor begins to eclipse his preaching. Oratory is more important than spiritual content. External appearance obscures moral character. But the church building is full!
From our text, the apostle is asking us to assess our gospel preaching. Although we must not be offensive in our presentation of the truth, we are told that we are presenting a stumbling block before the Jew and foolishness before the Gentile, 1 Cor. 1. 23, even though Christ is ‘the power of God unto salvation’, v. 24. It may not win us friends amongst the people of the world but this is what the Spirit of God can use to save souls! This is our ‘business’!
But as the servants of Christ, what is the focus of our ministry? Do we need to remind ourselves, ‘Who then is Apollos and who Paul? Ministering servants’, 1 Cor. 3. 5 JND? Equally, are we consistent in our desire to present all the truth of God, knowing that some parts will conflict with the thinking of the moment? Surely, it would be good if we could say with Paul, on another occasion, ‘I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you’, Acts 20. 20!
As so many assemblies decline in number it can appear a lonely life to labour with a completely different objective in mind – to please God. It would be good to bear in mind, and remember in prayer, the servants of the Lord engaged in preaching and teaching. Apart from the time they have to spend in the study of the word of God, they can spend considerable periods of time travelling alone. The writer of the Hebrews bids us, ‘Remember them which have . . . spoken unto you the word of God’, Heb. 13. 7.
But, lest we miss the application to ourselves, the testimony of John the Baptist remains a challenge to all of us, ‘He [the Lord] must increase, but I must decrease’, John 3. 30!
We continue on our endeavour to produce a magazine that will provide food for the people of God. Apart from the core of material that we provide on Old and New Testament themes and prophetic and church truth, there are also articles on pastoral and devotional topics. In this copy there is the continuing series on elders, and a look at the impact of the King James Version upon the linguistic and cultural life of the United Kingdom. As Malcolm Horlock’s series on the parables draws to a close we would express our thanks to him for all the effort he has expended in the production of each article. We continue to seek to please the Lord in our labours for Him. After all, this is His work!