Paul shared his story with the Church at Galatia. He told them how he had persecuted God’s people, how he had been zealous for all the wrong things, and how his encounter with Jesus changed all of that. He recounted the days after his conversion, when he began passionately presenting the gospel to the Gentile peoples, even apart from the full blessing of the Church in Judea and without their personal acquaintance. Those Judean churches had never broken bread with him. He had never been invited to their homes, and most had never laid eyes on him. Paul recounts, “I remained personally unknown to the Judean churches in Christ; they simply kept hearing: ‘He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me” (Gal.1.22-24).
Brothers and sisters in the faith recognized God at work, and even though they had never met this man named Paul, they knew the Savior He was proclaiming. They had experienced the transforming power of Christ for themselves and knew that God deserved glory. The Spirit at work in the life of Paul, not Paul’s charisma or winning charm, is what resulted in this show of glory towards God. So, when Paul says, “And they glorified God because of me” it is not a self-aggrandizing statement. Rather, it should be understood in the context of what he wrote a chapter later when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2.19-20).
Even so, let’s not miss this important point: Because Paul lived a life of surrender, God received glory. Could it be said of either you or I that others glorified God because of our life of surrender? When we worship God, whether it be in the midst of a church congregation or at the kitchen table with our family, do we do so with an attitude of surrender to Christ? And are we, like Paul, willing to tell our stories so that the transforming power of Christ might be known to those around us? Not in a desperate search for acceptance or a pat on the back, but because it is important for those around us to know to whom belongs the glory. Notice, Paul never writes, “And they glorified me because of my life.” He knew who he had been, and what he was now, and the credit for that new life was not his to possess but his to give away through a life of praise—a life that compelled others to glorify God.
NEWS AND NOTES:
Kids Praise is back in full swing and we want your child (ages 3-11) to join us on Wednesday nights at 6:15 as we sing, dance, and learn all about our great God.
Vocal team rehearsal has moved to the choir practice room on Wednesday nights at 7:30 as we are currently working on new anthems for the Fall and will soon begin rehearsing for Christmas as well. Everyone is welcome to come and make a joyful noise with us.
It’s not too late to join the Yates Baptist Association Wide Chorus! Our next rehearsal is Monday night, October 17th at 7:00 at Gorman Baptist Church. Myself and David Driggers are privileged to co-direct this group, and would love to have you join in the fun with us. We will perform at the Yates Baptist Annual Meeting on Tuesday, October 25th in the evening session.
On September 30th I marked the passing of 3 full years of service here at Rose of Sharon Baptist and while I know that October is supposed to be Clergy Appreciation month, I want to take this opportunity to tell you how much my family and I appreciate each of you. You are more than the congregation we serve, you are our closest friends. Your prayers and support over the last 3 years have meant more to us than we could ever say, and we consider it a privilege to work and worship alongside each of you.
In His Service,