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The Lawful Pleasure of Praise

It's not only okay to seek praise from God—it's absolutely necessary.


The key insight of this sermon is this: God will lavish his people with praise on the Last Day. Those who are in Christ can expect to find praise, glory, and honor at the judgment seat of Christ. There are key Scripture passages supporting this insight:

(Read Romans 2:29, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Matthew 25:21)

It's biblical, then, to say that God will praise his people. I trust you'll agree that at least this much is clear from Scripture. But the idea of praise from God raises some interesting questions: is it okay to seek praise from God?

Sure, you may be thinking to yourself, it may be God's intention to praise his people, but that doesn't mean it should be my intention to seek praise from God. Isn't seeking praise from God only a convenient way to rationalize my own pride, vanity, and selfishness? Is seeking praise from God a valid, biblical motivation?

The undisguised pleasure in being praised

One of the things you learn to appreciate as a parent is that children love to be praised. It was C. S. Lewis who observed in The Weight of Glory that "nothing is so obvious in a child—not in a conceited child, but in a good child—as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised."

I remember this truth coming home to me powerfully one Sunday afternoon in Cambridge, England. I was playing with our son Ezra, who was then only four or five years old. Ezra loved to run, as most little kids love to do. And he would simply run in these big circles, with his hair flying in every direction, cheeks flushed, smile on his face, loving every minute of it. After the tenth lap, I diverted my gaze to the cricket match on the other side of the park. Ezra noticed me looking away, no longer admiring him running. ...

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Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is Senior Pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, IL, cofounder of the Center for Pastor Theologians, and author most recently of The Pastor Theologian and Real Christian.

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Audio Sample:

Sermon Outline:


I. The undisguised pleasure in being praised

II. Our delightful duty to seek praise from God

III. Seeking praise from God enables belief

IV. Doesn't seeking praise from God feed vanity and pride?

V. To seek praise from God is to love God supremely