Does Your Message Bring Glory to God?

Does your message bring glory to God? There are many things for which we believers should be thankful, but the one thing that stands above all others is ‘GRACE’. Were it not for God’s grace, He would not have sent Jesus to die in our place. If it were not for God’s grace, we would have to obey the Law of Moses to gain access to the Father. If it were not for grace, we would never have an assurance of salvation. The Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth ‘as God’s grace reaches more and more people there will be great thanksgiving and God will receive more and more glory’.(2 Cor. 4:15 NLT) It is because grace is ‘undeserved’ favor and blessing that it causes us to be thankful. You can’t earn grace; you can only receive it as a gift. Because it is the gift from the Father, we thank Him for it. We didn’t earn it by obeying the 10 commandments. We didn’t receive it after following a 12 step formula for salvation. We received it as a gift by faith in Jesus, the one who brought grace to us.

If we earned eternal life, we would only gain eternal life by our own good deeds thereby being thankful to ourselves and our own ability. If we earned victory over evil we would be thankful for our own power and strategy to conquer the enemy. If we earned favor in the eyes of God we would credit our own wisdom and work in gaining that favor. But the scripture says that there is great thanksgiving and God gets the glory. Why? Because grace comes from what Jesus has done, not from what we have done. Therefore ALL thankfulness goes to Him and He gets the credit for what we have received.

Note that Paul DID NOT say 'as God’s wrath reaches more people, or God’s judgment reaches more people, or God’s punishment reaches more people’. Paul say’s ‘as God’s grace reaches more and more people there will be great thanksgiving’. Who would be thankful for wrath, judgment, and punishment…..except for the self-righteous? It is up to the church to extend the message of grace to more and more people. The church is the messenger of His gift of undeserved favor and blessing. As we extend that message to our friends, family, and nations we help bring forth thanksgiving and glory to the Father. And…..we rejoice with Him!


A Cost of Leadership is Your Choice of Words.

A cost of leadership is your choice of words. Jesus lays out the cost of being His disciple In Luke 14:28-33. He stripped away any impression that following Him would not come with a cost. A cost is something you give up or pay in return for something gained. In the context of leadership it is giving up certain ‘rights’ in exchange for gaining the trust required to lead.

Leaders in government, business and, especially, the church have the responsibility of watching over those whom they are leading. In the context of the church those we lead are becoming disciples, giving up life as they knew it for the life of Christ. Leaders pay a price for the greater responsibility to fulfill the intent of our foundation scripture, i.e. the cost of the leader is greater than the cost of the follower.

One such cost of leadership is the freedom to say whatever you want just because you want to say it. The Bible is very clear in James 3 that our words carry power. The tongue is a mighty force to direct, guide, affect and influence people for good and for evil. The Apostle Paul made it clear, regarding acceptable and unacceptable food, that believers have the freedom to eat whatever they want, though not all of what we eat is beneficial. So it is with our words; we have freedom to say what we want, but not all of what we say may benefit us, the people around us, or the cause of Christ. In America we have constitutional freedom of speech. We can say just about anything we want…………legally. So it is with leaders …….we can say anything we want……legally. But is what we say beneficial to us, to people around us, and to the cause?

Many years ago I had an employee who got into a heated public exchange with another person in our organization. The employee got caught up in the intensity of the moment and was carried away by the current of the conflict. My employee was right in terms of this view of the issue and I agreed with that view; however, the words used, the anger of the exchange, and the public venue only served to hurt the cause. I later counseled that person of a better way.
Leaders; we are held to a higher standard of using our tongue to benefit the cause, especially the cause of Christ. It is one of the costs of being a leader. Ask yourself these questions before entering an intense verbal engagement; (1) is what I’m about to say bringing forth truth? (2)Is what I’m about to say conveyed with an attitude to benefit the hearer, i.e. for their ultimate good? (3)Is what I’m about to say delivered in the correct forum, public or private, that will best benefit the cause?


True Prosperity Is Soul Prosperity

True prosperity is soul prosperity. 3 John 2 (NIV) says ‘I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.’ The King James translation uses the word ‘prosper’ rather than the phrase ‘getting along well’. The Greek word from which the translators derive this understanding is ‘eudoo’, literally meaning to have a ‘well journey’. Every person desires to have prosperity, a ‘well journey’, in life but we often view prosperity solely through the lens of the external economic and material such as bank accounts, houses, land, debt, size of ministries, etc. John’s view here is primarily the soul, and by extension, the body. It is very little about the external, but the internal. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions.

Notice in the next verse he congratulates them because they ‘walk in the truth’. When our soul is immersed in the truth of the gospel, the good news of Jesus, and the unlimited grace of God we have internal prosperity. We choose to walk in truth, good news, and grace. The walk of truth is a choice; therefore a life of soul prosperity is a choice. I’m not saying it’s easy or instantaneous but it is a choice we make daily, weekly, yearly in the midst of good and bad circumstances. The walk of truth is not a life without challenges and trials, but it is brings the abundant life of soul prosperity.

As a pastor I often counsel people inside and outside my church on decisions in life; choices to make, how to make them, and the consequences of those choices. Very often believers already know the right choice to make. The comment I most often hear is ‘I want to’. They know what’s right based upon the written word of God and their inner witness. They want to do the right thing based upon that word, but their struggle is really believing it firmly enough to say ‘I will’. Soul prosperity is discovered in moving from saying ‘I want to’ to saying ‘I will’. It is found in moving from knowing the truth to walking in the truth. To know the truth in the depths of your heart, brings you from ‘I want to’ to ‘I will’. Then, and only then, do you have a ‘well journey’.