READ: Ecclesiastes 12, John 7, James 1
THE GLORY OF ONE
It is all to easy to speak gospel truth for self-glorifying ends. Jesus warned, “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the one who sent Him is true” (John 7:18). We are sent into the earth to speak and seek the glory of the One who has sent us. The Scriptures provide a simple checklist for us, which helps us determine exactly whose glory we speak towards.
Is your doctrine yours or God’s (John 7:16)? Not even Jesus espoused His own doctrine–He was conscientious in speaking God’s thoughts. God does not change; the essential character of God is without variance or shadow of turning (James 1:17). The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. Covenants come and go as they are broken by humanity, but the everlasting covenant of God’s love and wrath is unaltered, eternal, fixed to His immovable nature. To speak the doctrine of God is to present God as He is, not as humanity wishes Him to be. To cite one example, the true to the doctrine of God is to tell a Muslim there is a Heavenly Father whether or not his theology allows the concept. Believability does not verify truth. Truth is sourced in the character of God and is true because He is true. Even if a Muslim verbally, viscerally, and emotionally rejects a truth about God, that truth is still effective at the spirit level, for it appeals to the God-shaped vacuum in the heart created by the Heavenly Father.
Do you testify that the world’s works are evil (John 7:7)? This is exactly what Jesus did and was hated for it. In fact the witness of Jesus (for the glory of the Father) made the hearers complain much (v. 12), and caused division (v. 43). Those who seek their own glory tend to aim (consciously or otherwise) towards a popular message. It is impossible to glorify God without condemning the world. No biblical figure (prophet or apostle) spoke only positive messages. It is incumbent for us to both testify against the evil of the world and towards the righteousness of God. It is naïve folly (and the un-gospel) to stay silent about the evil works of sin. It is popular to say that we only need to glorify Jesus (speak positively about the gospel), and as much as I would like to agree, Jesus disagrees. Jesus testified that the world’s works are evil. Jesus spoke against the religious hypocrisy of His day and was hated for it. To only speak the positive things about Jesus without pointing out the wickedness of idolatry and false religion is to only speak half the gospel and is a subtle way of seeking your own glory. Our testimony must be like well-driven nails given by one Shepherd (Eccles. 12:11). We must speak as Jesus spoke. We must speak for the things He spoke for and against the things He spoke against. And this will cause hatred, complaining, and division. We don’t seek the wrath of man, but seeking the glory of the One, we cannot escape it.