Summary: What does it mean to put God first? How do we stop performing for others who may be watching and perform solely for Him?
This is our fifth and final week in our series on Canadian Idols. Of course, you’ve got to wait until September 16 for the finale on CTV, but this is it for us. Over the past several weeks we’ve talked about a variety of things which can become idols for us… things which vie for our attention and which can become the focus of our lives… money, popularity, pleasure, possessions, happiness, fame, family, career, religion. Have any of these taken the place of God in your life and pushed Him of of the way? Have any of these become an idol for you? What are you chasing?
VIDEO – E-ssentials v.4 n.4 "Rat Race"
This past week the third group of ten competed to become finalists on Canadian Idol. One by one the performers would step up to sing. They would sing for the four judges. They would sing for the other nine competitors. They would sing for Ben Mulroney and the rest of the crew. And they would sing for an estimated 2.2 million people across our nation.
They were performing for a huge audience, and whether they were successful or not was determined by the number of people in the audience who called in to vote for them. That’s the nature of the show.
But who do you perform for? In everyday life, whose approval is most important to you? Who is your audience? Because when all is said and done there’s only one vote that counts, and I would suggest that you perform for that audience of One. Because ultimately it’s not the applause of the crowd that matters… it’s the approval of our God.
So this morning we’re going to talk about performing for this Audience of One – What does it take to live for God and God alone? And as we go, we’ll identify five keys to performing for the Audience of One. And you can use the notes provided in your Sunrise update this morning to follow along. Okay? Let’s go.
What is Involved in Performing for the Audience of One?
1. Decide Who You Want to Please: God or Others
The apostle Paul is known as one of the greatest Christians of all time. He’s the man primarily responsible for spreading Christianity beyond the Jewish community. He wrote half of the books in our New Testament. He is someone who lived to please God.
But that wasn’t always the case. When we’re first introduced to Paul in the book of Acts he was watching and condoning the mob execution of a believer named Stephen. Paul was very much opposed to the early church and made it his mission to arrest or kill as many Christians as he could.
At the time, he was going by the name of Saul. And he was a very religious person. He followed all the religious laws and was quite proud of it. And as he traveled around trying to wipe out the early Christians, he gained the approval of many of the Jewish religious leaders and Roman officials who felt threatened by Christianity. And he did all he could to continue to please them.
Until the one day when this fellow met the Saviour, and he knew that He was much more than a myth. It was then He gave his life to Jesus, chose to live for him alone.
From that point on, Paul ticked off a lot of people. In fact, he received death threats, had rocks thrown at him, was arrested and imprisoned, and eventually he was killed for his faith. Check out what he wrote in Galatians 1:10…
Galatians 1:10 (NLT)
Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.
When I was a teenager (which I’m beginning to realize was a long time ago) I used to listen to the Christian Rock group Petra, and there’s a song they used to sing based on that verse right there. It was called “Godpleaser”, and in it Bob Hartman wrote these words:
So many voices telling me which way to go,
So many choices come from those who think they know.
There’s a way that seems right to a man but it only brings him death,
I wanna go the way that leads to life, till I draw my dying breath.
I just want my life to glorify His Son,
To Make my Father proud that I’m His child before I’m done.
No need to pat me on the back or stop to shake my hand,
I just want to hear my Father say, “Well done, well done.”
~ Godpleaser performed by Petra, written by Bob Hartman
That’s the first thing about performing for an Audience of One… decide if you want to be a people-pleaser or a God-pleaser. If you want to perform for the Audience of one, you need to be a God-pleaser.