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Finding praise in the right place (Romans 2:28–29)

A sermon preached at Moore College Chapel, 31 May 2019.

‘… There is a very strong temptation to measure your ministry by looking at how much people are praising you. To see the measure of your success not as “Who is hearing and being challenged by the gospel through my ministry?” but rather “Do people like me? Do my colleagues like me and respect me? Does my congregation like me? Do people say good things about me?” “He’s such a kind person” “What a wise pastor” “She’s meeting our needs” “We love his sermons” Do non-Christians like me? Am I praised as a gracious and wise person in the news, in the public sphere, online? How many likes do I get when I post that thing with my wise words? Praise from people. That’s the measure of success.

Or you might not be so individualistic about it. You might turn it into something more virtuous. You’re not just aiming for people to like you. No, your measure of success is: “Do people like Christians?” or, “Do people like the church?” And that can become your main aim in ministry. “The ministry of being liked”

How do you know you have the ministry of being liked? It’s how you react when people don’t like you. If you think you’re a failure because non-Christians just don’t like you. Or if you criticize other ministers simply because they’re not good at being liked. Then your measure of success is being liked.

… What is your motivation? What is your goal and aim and deepest desire? What do you long and strive for most of all? Is it positive feedback, from people within the church and outside the church? Praise from people?

This is not the place to look for praise…”

Listen to the full sermon here:

The sermon was followed by a chapel testimony from Jane Tooher: “audience of one”. Listen here:

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