Pleasing Men
(Galatians 1:6-12)

Introduction. In this text Paul rebukes the churches of Galatia for accepting a “different gospel.” The context of the passage indicates that this false doctrine concerned efforts by the Judaizing teachers to turn the Galatian church towards following the Old Law.
Note: (vs. 10) “do I seek to please men?” further “If I still pleased men I would not be a bondservant of Jesus Christ.” This indicates that if we would seek to be servants of Christ we can not please man.
     This morning let’s look at this text and do some thinking about what this means that we should not seek to please man.

I. The Text.

• (vs. 6) They had “turned away” to a different gospel. Not on their own but because (vs. 7) some had “troubled” them.
• Perhaps like Acts 15:1. This would be troubling indeed if you were a Gentile and you are made to doubt the assurance of you salvation.
• Perhaps like Galatians 2:11-13. This would be troubling if you were a Jew -- Perhaps you shouldn’t associate with Gentiles. If you were a Gentile -- those Jews who could teach so much about the God of the OT now had nothing to do with them!
• (vs. 8, 9) No matter who says it -- if it is another message it is wrong! To this problem Paul says (vs. 10) his place was not to “persuade” men or “please” them, because the gospel he received was not (vs. 11) “according to man.”
• In fact, he did not recieve it from man but by (vs. 12) “the revelation of Jesus Christ” -- i.e. directly revealed to him.
     The focus on whom he should please led Paul not to try and “please man” -- if he had conceded to those who had “troubled” the brethren, he could not be pleasing to God.

II. When did Paul seek to please man?

Romans 15:1-3 Context: Respect for the conscience of the weak brother still struggling with what to follow regarding foods. I Corinthians 7:33,34 Husbands and wives are to try and please each other.
I Corinthians 10:31-33 Context: Similar to Romans 14 -- Paul says we treat each other with concern and respect to try and help them go to heaven. Note: The one who teaches that you can’t serve Christ and please man -- here addresses when “pleasing” man is serving Christ.
Compare: I Corinthians 9:19-22 The servant of God will forgo his own rights, liberties, preferences, and interests in those matters where doing something one way or another is not rejecting or ignoring God’s will to help others go to heaven. This means...

• You think about how your actions will impact others.
• You make certain your choices don’t make it harder for a brothers or sister to go to heaven.
• You disregard your preferences if it might hurt someone else.

III. When must we not seek to please man?

Servants are not to be “men-pleasers” (Ephesians 6:5-8). Yet, they are to be “well-pleasing” to their masters Titus 2:9-10 Here servants are to be sincere in their service to their masters. They don’t act one way around them and another when they are gone. The servant who does right serves the Lord in so doing. We must not regard the “person of men” (Mark 12:13,14) -- i.e. treat an “important,” wealthly, powerful or beautiful person one way and a common person another.
We must not seek the “praise of men.” (John 12:42, 43). How sad this is -- some believed in Jesus but would not confess Him. When men do not like the truth we will not please them and we must not try to do so.
     This is the biggest area in which we will find ourselves having to forgo “pleasing men” -- when doing the will of God means people are not pleased with us.
Preachers must not teach to please men (II Timothy 4:2-4). Preaching involves many things, some positive, some negative. Preachers want to have influence in order to help people go to heaven. Note: Tell children -- Preacher/Teacher is trying to help us go to heaven. Not everyone may like a preacher’s style or approach. Yet, if it is the truth -- that is the main issue. Preacher’s have to teach things that are difficult to hear -- not according to our “own desires.” The danger in Isaiah’s day is still present Isaiah 30:9-11
Elders must not lead to please men (Titus 1:7-11). Note: They are not to be (vs. 7) “self-willed” -- they don’t just do what pleases them. They have the interests of the souls under their oversight in mind. They must be able to (vs. 9) “exhort” and “convict” those who contradict sound doctrine. They must (vs. 11) “stop” the mouths of those who teach “what they ought not.” This is a great challenge. It is the responsibility of the elders, but also those whom they lead to ease this burden. Hebrews 13:17 Note: “Obey” and “be submissive.” Not if they contradict the word of God, but as they follow it. Most decisions are matters of judgement. As they “watch out for” our souls we mustn’t nitpick, squabble and second guess their decisions. This makes their job harder. We should make it a “joy.” They can’t lead, if they are made to act like pollsters -- i.e. asking themselves What’s the popular thing? Or What is public opinion? They, like Paul, do all things to “please all men” in trying to save the souls of men -- but they must not turn into puppets of church politics. They are spiritual leaders.
Churches must not act to please men (Colossians 1:9,10). The focus for Paul -- and the focus for us must be “What pleases God?” There is a trend in the denominational world that reflects this danger. Marketing and research groups will go into a certain community and poll the residents about “what they want in a church?” Some might say - social activities, singles groups, activities for the elderly, daycare centers, recreational facilities, plays, field trips, bands, choirs, etc., etc. Then a “Mega-Church” will be constructed and the doors are filled to capactity. Remember I Timothy 4:3 “according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers” -- When did it become about what we want? and not about what God wants?

Conclusion. Paul was not the first to set as his priority pleasing God more than man. In fact he merely followed the example of our Lord. There will be times we are hated. Times when we try our best to influence people and please them in consideration of the saving of their soul -- but when that does not accomplish the desired result we have to put “pleasing men” out of our minds and focus, as Jesus did, on pleasing our Father in heaven (John 8:28,29).