June 23, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Speaking To Please God Today
“but just as we have been approved to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4
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Have you entrusted someone to perform a very important task for you? I think about that fact all the time as a lawyer. My clients entrust to me a legal problem, and expect that I will use my best efforts to solve the problem. In some cases, I advise my clients to pay the other side and settle the case. In other matters, I advise my clients to seek to recover their losses. In each case, I must review the law and facts and determine my best course of action. I try to always act in the best interest of my client, as a matter of trust.
Paul had a task entrusted to him far more important than practicing law. In fact, the most important task on earth had been delivered to him as a steward of God. God commissioned him to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. In 1 Corinthians 4:1-4, Paul explained how God entrusted the mysteries of God to Paul as a steward. Paul then said: “it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (1 Corinthians 4:2). As Paul traveled around the Mediterranean world, he demonstrated his faithfulness as a steward of God’s mysteries. The people at Thessalonica could testify to Paul’s faithfulness to the message.
Paul links the message he preaches, and how he preaches the message, to God who examines the hearts. This term “examines” may be rendered “examining” to convey its sense that as Paul speaks, God continuously examines every word Paul proclaims, and whether he is speaking in error, impurity, or deceit. Because God entrusted Paul with His message, and then examines Paul as he spreads the Gospel, Paul does not focus upon pleasing men. We should always keep this principle in our minds.
You can be friends with the world by pleasing the men around you. But you cannot be friends with the world and friends with God. “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Jesus taught His disciples that the world would hate them, because they first hated Jesus without cause (John 15:18-25). So, you can change your message of salvation to be friends with the world. You can drop out all the parts of God’s message the world may find offensive. For example, you could say that Jesus was not really divine, and be like other cults that deny His divinity and equality with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Or, you could never mention that unbelievers go to hell and suffer there for an eternity. But in both cases, you would not be a faithful servant spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather you would have become someone who preaches your own gospel.
Building strong friendships in Christ means that you will never speak to please men, but always speak the message of God because: (1) He entrusted you with His message; and (2) He examines your heart and words continually. Jesus loves you every day, but demands that you speak faithfully for Him. Spread His message, knowing that He will reward you for faithful service. (Hebrews 11:6). Make friends and disciples of Jesus who speak God’s message backed up with lives that God examines and finds faithful. Together we can walk before Him by faith, living in His lovingkindness.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we speak to please God and not men. We will never put our friendships with anyone before God.
● Strong bonds of friendship will grow when we keep in mind that God examines our message and actions, all the time. He really knows why we speak and how we speak. As we speak together, and support others who speak for God and not men, we encourage each other to speak out boldly for Christ in His name and with His Gospel.
● We break bonds of friendship when we speak to please men. As friends in Christ, we must speak for Him and avoid speaking to please men. Any friendship built upon speaking to please men will only lead to failure and further problems, but speaking to please God will lead to eternal rewards from Him.
Application for Today
Today, I want to speak for Christ, knowing God examines my message and heart continuously. I also want to encourage believers around me who speak out for Jesus Christ. When God examines you today, what will He see and hear?