Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Glory of Him who Sent Me

“About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:13-18 (ESV)
The feast was a week long. Jesus shows up about half way through and begins teaching in the temple. As usually happens when Jesus teaches the people are amazed at his teaching and his learning. But Jesus has never gone to school, they know this. He hasn’t studied under any of the famous rabbi’s but his teaching somehow exceeds theirs. The people want to know where it comes from. Jesus answers that he is only teaching what has been given to him to teach, what the one who sent him has told him to teach. If a person wants to do God’s will they will listen, if not they won’t.
Of course this is the problem many pastors face. When you actually teach what the Bible says then people will get upset with you. The fact of the matter is, people don’t want to do God’s will, and even of those who are converted and become Christian, they are divided within themselves. Their sinful nature is still there, even as it is in the pastor. The flesh wants works righteousness, the flesh wants glory. If the pastor makes room for works within his preaching, then the pastor will receive glory from men. It is that simple. There are many ways this happens, probably the most common is to treat sanctification as different from justification and to make sanctification a matter of works. No one but the Roman Catholics will be so crass as to talk about Justification as being by works, but sanctification, well that is different! Actually, no. You really can’t talk about the one without the other. It also comes about with talk of reward in heaven etc. The old Adam wants to earn, he doesn’t want to take charity from his enemy. And God showing kindness and charity to his enemies, that is sinners, well he heaps burning coals on our heads that way. It rarely has the effect of ingratiating us to him. The old adam will not let such aggression stand. He must have his glory.
That’s the way it works. Only the work of the Holy Spirit calling by the gospel can overcome this, and the Spirit works in the individuals and causes in some the desire to do God’s will, to believe in his son and his forgiveness. They will know that Christ’s teaching is from God, his teaching alone has the power to convince them of it. They will follow. But Christ does not seek his own glory, but the glory of the Father, and only then does he find his own glory. He who seeks to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will save it, the paradox of Christianity. When we seek our own glory we lose it, when we seek God’s glory we receive it. And God’s glory is found no where else but in the cross where he has delivered mankind from his day of trouble.

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